• RiverStone Health sanitarians, assisted by other public health staff, check immunization records to make sure all children and staff working in the day care center or drop-in center are properly immunized to prevent childhood diseases. Parents should inquire about the day care’s policy on checking childhood immunizations before children enroll.
• Ask about the caregivers’ education and training. Ask other parents about their experience with the day care.
• Check that bathrooms are clean and sanitary and that hand-washing sinks are set to avoid scalding temperatures.
• Look at cribs, playpens and infant play equipment to make sure it is safe and clean. Are crib sheets and linens changed between infants? Any toy that ends up in a child’s mouth should be sanitized immediately afterward.
• Ask about food service. Is the food cooked and held at proper temperatures to prevent foodborne illness? Is the menu nutritious for your child?
• Check outdoor play equipment and play areas for safety features.
Although Yellowstone County has a lot of day care capacity, staffing shortages have been an issue lately. It’s a good idea to start looking for infant care six to eight months before you will need it. There may be shorter waits for care of toddlers and preschoolers.