For many parents, trying to find a reputable place for childcare can be a daunting task. With many daycare facilities being pretty expensive, some parents opt for a more economical choice, such as an in-home daycare.

There are advantages to home-based care facilities, such as:

  • The home environment is more familiar to the child.

  • Food prepared on a stove; less pre-packaged.

  • More cozy.

  • Can nap in a quiet bedroom.

While some of these arrangements can be a great place for your child, there are some dangers that are more common amid in-home daycares.


"A rise in demand for in-home centers has led to the multiplication of unlicensed centers, which entice with costs that are even lower than those of licensed home-based daycares," stated one study. Parents need to be careful where they leave their children for childcare. If the daycares are unlicensed, that also means they are unregulated.

Just because it's cheaper, doesn't mean it's the best idea. You pay for what you get, and when it comes to your children, you need to make sure they're being adequately cared for.


Along with being unlicensed comes the issue of safety. Regulations require certain ratios of children per caregiver. Without adequate caregivers, your child could be in danger. Certain levels of child-proofing and standards of cleanliness must be maintained. Though a home-based daycare may be more cozy, it may also be more relaxed when it comes to acceptable standards for caring for multiple young children. This can become a safety issue, or even a health issue for your child.

What can parents do?

  • Do your homework and look into your state's daycare guidelines and make sure the childcare you choose is adequately following them.

  • Look for licensed daycares and make visits - both announced and unannounced - to see if the standards are being upheld.

  • Check for cleanliness. Are toys being cleaned? Does the home appear to be clean in general?

  • Is there a sufficient caregiver-to-child ratio? Will the children receive the necessary supervision?

  • Is it kid-friendly?

  • Are you and your child comfortable with the caregiver(s)?

  • Are there pets in the home that have access to the children? If your child has pet allergies, this can be especially important. Or, if there is any chance the pet can get overwhelmed and bite a child, that is a major concern.

  • Is food being prepared in a sanitary manner - including handwashing for all children and adults?

  • What activities take place? Are kids watching TV all day? It's important to make sure children get to participate in a variety of activities, such as reading books, playing games and playing in small groups.

  • If the daycare transports children, are they using proper safety restraints such as car seats and booster seats?

In-home daycares can be a great alternative to center-based daycares. Besides being more affordable, there can be other benefits to your child. However, if they are unlicensed or not adhering to safe practices, they can also be very dangerous. While searching for a daycare, do your research and find one that will not only keep your child safe, but also happy and well-cared for.

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