Finding the Right Child Care Facility

When preparing your search for the right child care facility, compile a list of items to observe and questions to ask for each facility that you tour. When making the final selection, your comments will help you remember aspects of each. Here is a sample list to help your efforts.

Health and Safety

Observe the cleanliness of the center and the diaper changing and hand-washing procedures. Ask about security of medicines and chemicals in the facility and about the caregiver’s CPR and First Aid certification.

Find out about the meal and nap time routines, as well as the transportation procedures if children are taken on field trips. Ask about discipline procedures when children act-out or break classroom rules and how positive behavior is encouraged. Be sure to observe indoor and outdoor play areas and safety precautions used by staff.


Ask about any planned activities and observe equipment, toys, and materials. Are the children read to daily? What quality and quantity of books are in each room? You may want to look into the amount of time each day spent on the playground. Thirty to forty-five minutes twice a day is recommended. Ask about the use of technology (TV, VCR, computers) in the facility, recognizing that limited use is recommended for young children.

Quality Factors

Remember that consistent, positive relationships with caring adults will allow your child to grow, develop and learn. Watch to make sure that the caregivers are warm, caring and enjoy their work. Ask if the program is accredited or certified by a recognized respectable agency, such as NAEYC, with higher requirements than minimum child care licensing standards. The experience, education, and regular training are imperative to competent caregivers. Be sure to inquire about the number of children assigned to each caregiver and the number of children in each room in order to understand the opportunities for individual attention.

Parent Involvement

You as a parent may want to be involved in your child’s care facility. Ask if parents are welcome to visit, how they are encouraged to participate, and how often caregivers will communicate with you about your child’s progress. To find a list of licensed child care facilities visit