Interviewing a Child Care Provider – 7 Questions to Ask to Keep Your Child Safe

toddler doing an art project with a teacher in a mask

You want to find a child care option that your little one will enjoy…but you also want to ensure health and safety. Whether you’re interviewing a private nanny, occasional sitter, or child care center, take a look at these seven questions to ask the provider.

  1. Do you have current health and safety training certifications? When it comes to finding child care that you trust, you’ll want to double check that the provider holds first aid and CPR certifications…and that they’re renewed on a regular basis. Just in case the unthinkable happens, you want your child to be in good, capable hands.
  2. How do you handle cleaning and sanitizing? Nannies and sitters don’t typically handle housekeeping duties, but they should be willing to clean up anything that happens under their watch (think: spilled liquids, any bodily fluids, or any meal-related mess). At a child care center, you’ll want to make sure strict cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting policies are followed for toys, cots, bedding, surfaces, food preparation areas, diapering areas and bathrooms, and other things that everyone touches, like doorknobs and light switches.
  3. What are your outdoor policies? When it’s time to go outside, make sure the provider has weather-appropriate policies — your child should have sunscreen on, be dressed for the weather in appropriate clothing and footwear, and have access to shade and drinking water.
  4. What do you do when a child misbehaves? Find out how the provider handles discipline. All children make mistakes, and you want to ensure the provider uses positive techniques — such as redirection, guidance, conflict resolution, and constructive discussions — that will help prevent problematic behavior in the future.
  5. How do you address children’s unique needs? Does your child have a severe food allergy? Allergic to bee stings? Your provider should be trained on how to use an EpiPen and other necessary medication, should feel comfortable acting in case of an emergency, and have a solid escalation plan, if necessary.
  6. Have you ever had to deal with a child care emergency? What did you do? The answer to this question will give you a feel for how the provider might act under pressure in a potentially scary situation. Listen for things like, “called 911,” “called poison control,” “called parents,” “performed the Heimlich maneuver,” and more.
  7. How would you deal with a sick child? If your child spikes a fever or gets the stomach bug under the provider’s care, you want to make sure that he or she will be kept comfortable and tended to until you can come home or pick up. Ensure that the provider is willing to administer medication when necessary. And if you’re looking at a child care center, find out what the policy is for mildly ill care — can your child attend when he or she has the sniffles or a low-grade fever?
    Finding a child care provider who will keep your child healthy and safe is critical for your little one’s wellbeing, and your peace of mind. Ask these seven questions during the interview process to make sure you find a provider you can trust.