Staying safe while growing and learning

Take Precautions to Keep Your Child Safe as She Grows

Children are explorers by nature. As soon as they become mobile, they began to investigate their environment which means that they use all of their senses to better understand everything. They find a button on the floor, it goes directly into their mouth. For some reason, it makes perfect sense to them that little fingers are the perfect size to fit into electrical outlets. All of a sudden, their once safe space is a danger zone!

Check out the tips below to help lessen the risks around your home and your child care provider’s space.

Safety Tips:

  • Be sure to lock doors to any dangerous areas or exits.

  • Use safety gates on stairs and discourage climbing the gates if you see that beginning to happen.

  • Install window guards on windows above the first floor.

  • Since falls often happen around playground equipment, be sure that there is a soft surface for them to land on.

  • Tricycles, scooters and run bikes are popular at this age. Make a rule that helmets are worn from the start.

  • There should be a fence around your child care’s play area. Make sure that the gates are in good working condition and can be locked.

  • If you keep firearms in your house, make sure that the ammunition is locked separately from the gun.

  • Keep guns unloaded and in a safe, locked place.

  • Keep knives and other kitchen appliances out of reach of small hands.

  • Keep your child in a safe place when ironing or cooking. Check your stove to see if the outside gets hot to the touch.

  • Lock all cabinets and drawers that might be tempting to a child. House hold cleaners should be capped and stored in a secure cabinet. Keep all medicines safely out of reach.

  • Check that all electrical outlets have plates on them with no loose wires sticking out. Unused outlets should have safety caps on them.

  • Keep all appliances and their cords in good condition.

  • Make sure that fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors work and are checked monthly.

  • Be sure that there is not standing water outside in buckets or pools and never leave a child alone in the bathroom. It does not take much water for a child to drown.

  • Keep floors and counters clean of loose buttons, change and other small items that can wind up in a mouth . . . or a nose!

  • Cribs are up to date, haven’t been recalled and meet all safety precautions.

  • Heavy furniture is bolted into the wall so it will not topple over on a little person.

More information:


Is Bullying a Concern for Parents of Children Under Five Years Old?

Much research has been conducted around bullying among older children. When it comes to the very young, there is much less research and even more confusion as how to tell if it bullying or development of social skills.

It’s important to realize the true definition of bullying as well as that it can occur in a physical manner, as well as verbally and socially. As explained in an NAEYC article, bullying has three elements:

  • · It is an act that is aggressive and is intended to do harm.

  • · It is a series of acts that are repeated over time.

  • · The acts occur within the context of power imbalance.

When looking at younger children, research has shown that there is a big gender difference. Boys who bully have many friends while girls who do so are more socially isolated. Also, in contrast to older children who bully, children ages 2 – 5 may be a bully one day and then the bully-victim or victim later in the year.

Research has shown that aggression in areas such as the block table, the water table, and the playground are more common and in areas overall that are more open and less clearly defined.

The good news? As children grow older and develop better social skills and emotion and behavior regulation skills, bullying tends to decline.

Early Education and Child Care Providers and Parents Can Help:

  • Discuss and model positive behavior by offering the words and actions children need to make friends and interact with their peers.

  • Reinforce and celebrate good behavior by praising a child when he/she is “caught” in the act of being kind, sharing or helping a friend.

  • Set clear rules for behavior and step up quickly to stop or redirect aggressive behavior before it happens.

  • Provide constant reminders to young children about how you expect them to behave.

  • Tell stories and talk often about what kindness is, and how it is valued while reinforcing that aggression is not acceptable.

  • Encourage children to help repair hurt feelings or damage that is done. For instance, sincere apologies or helping to rebuild a knocked over block structure helps to correct the hurt.

  • When children use unkind words, help them understand how they can hurt other people. Work with them to suggest other ways and words to show their feelings and suggest appropriate actions and the use of non-aggressive words.

  • Teach children to alert a teacher when aggressive behavior happens.

More information:

Water Safety

Kids love playing in the water whether it be a sprinkler, water table or pool. At home and in child care programs, water play can also be great for building social and motor skills as well as just plain old fun. It’s important though that parents and caregivers create a safe environment for all water activities.

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Car Safety

There are many dangers parents worry about when it comes to their children. However, you can help mitigate those risks when it comes to their safety in and around vehicles. You should always teach children not play in or around cars, and never leave a child in a car alone for any length of time.

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Summer Safety

Don’t let summer heat spoil your outside fun

Baby, it’s hot outside! And, it’s only getting warmer as we head into July. Whether if your children are home with you all day, or in some type of summer child care, outdoor play is healthy for them. Outdoor time, even when it is hot, cold and rainy, provides kids with a chance to develop and enhance large motor skills, release extra energy in an open environment, and experience change for sensory stimulation.

Child care programs and summer camps should ensure that children of all ages, including babies, have time for playtime outside each day, weather permitting. In Georgia, young children who are in a child care program for more than five hours per day should get a minimum of an hour and a half outside! Infants should receive at least one hour. Programs that are less than five hours are still required to provide the children with outdoor stimulation but for no set amount of time.

Tips to make the most of the outdoors during summer:

  • Schedule outdoor time earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon.
  • Divide outdoor time into two, or even, three sessions.
  • Keep a variety of extra clothes for children in case of water play or if the clothes they wore that day are not appropriate for a hot day.
  • Make excursions to play areas or parks with lots of shade.
  • Create safe water play activities with water tables, sprinklers and wet pads.
  • Have cooling stations setup outside: a fan with water spray, plenty of drinkable water accessible to children, and shade.

Safety Tips:

  • Parents should apply SPF before dropping children off at camp or child care.
  • Keep babies out of direct sunlight for long periods.
  • Never, ever leave a child unattended in a vehicle even for a few minutes. #LookAgain
  • Watch for signs of heat-related illness: Cramps, very high body temperature, rapid pulse, dizziness, extreme headache, nausea/vomiting, athlete not sweating, confusion, paleness, fewer wet diapers for babies, and extreme sweating.
  • Use an effective insect repellant while playing outside.
  • Check to make sure that playground equipment isn’t too hot to the touch.
  • Dress children in loose, lightweight and light-colored clothing.

More information:

Summer Camp Safety

Summer Camp Planning

Summer camp should be fun! But it’s also important that summer camps be a safe place for children to play and learn. Be a wise consumer in selecting the right camp experience for your child.

This year Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) is partnering with Quality Care for Children (QCC) to help parents find summer camps and child care programs for the summer. Parents can verify their camps by visiting to see if it is either licensed or exempt from licensing.

If parents prefer, they can speak with a summer camp referral specialist by calling 1-877-ALL-GA-KIDS (877-255-4254) Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. with early hours beginning at 7:00 a.m. on Monday/Wednesday and extended hours until 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday/Thursday.

QCC encourages parents to consider the following questions when selecting a summer camp or child care program:

  • Is the program licensed, Quality Rated, or accredited? If not, has the program been granted an exemption by DECAL?
  • Has the owner/operator screened all staff, with what methods, and how thoroughly?
  • What are the hours of operation, fees, and payment procedures?
  • Are parents/guardians welcome to visit at all times?
  • Is there a daily lesson plan?
  • What are the program’s health, safety, and nutrition policies and procedures?
  • Does the staff/child ratio and group size fit into the Georgia maximum staff-to-child ratio?
  • Is the staff well-trained? Do they have experience with early childhood/school-age care or children with special needs? What about CPR and First Aid training, or appropriate licensing for transporting children?