Friday, December 28, 2012

New crib standards take effect today for all child care providers in the United States

Starting today, all child care centers and homes must comply with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) new crib rules.

More than 11 million cribs have been recalled because of safety hazards in the United States since 2007. The CPSC changed federal manufacturing standards for cribs in June 2011. The new rules, which apply to full-size and non-full-size cribs, prohibit the manufacture or sale of traditional drop-side rail cribs, strengthen crib slats and mattress supports, improve the quality of hardware and require more rigorous testing. Read more about the details of the crib manufacturing rules.

Starting today, all cribs in use in child care centers, family homes and places of public accommodation must comply with the June 2011 crib safety standards.

How can I tell if my crib complies with the new standards?
You cannot tell from looking at a crib whether it meets the new standards. If you purchased a crib before July 2011, it is not likely that it meets the new federal standard. You can check the crib itself for the manufacturing date. If it’s after June 28, 2011, the crib meets the standard. To be sure, you can contact the manufacturer to ask if the crib complies with 16 CFR 1219, the new standard for full-size cribs, or 16 CFR 1220, the new standard for non-full-size cribs.

The CPSC recently published guidance on which cribs meet the requirements and how providers can determine if their cribs comply. Read the guidance on CPSC’s cribs webpage.

How will DEL enforce the new standards?
DEL has incorporated the CPSC crib rules into our child care center and family home licensing rules. The rules require licensees to keep a log that shows each crib in use meets the CPSC crib requirements. Child care licensors may ask to see the log at any time, including during monitoring visits.

More information:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Updated school-age licensing rules take effect Dec. 20

Updated rules for licensed school-age child care go into effect on Dec. 20. The revised school-age licensing WAC 170-297 will replace the previous school-age center requirements, WAC 170-151. The revised rules pertain to the 450 licensed school-age programs around the state, which serve up to 20,000 children ages 5 through 12 with before- and after-school care. The rules were last updated in 2001.

The updated rules are better aligned with DEL's other child care licensing rules, and reflect more recent research. Key changes in the updated rules include:
  • Updates to water safety requirements, including adding a requirement of minimum staff-to-child ratio of 1:10 during water activities.
  • More information about guidance and discipline, including positive options for discipline and ways to help ensure bullying does not occur in the program.
  • Allowing use of public transportation, so long as children are supervised at all times and required staff-to-child ratios are maintained.
  • Updates to lighting safety requirements, including adding a requirement for either shatter-resistant light bulbs or shatter-resistant light coverings on ceiling-mounted light fixtures.
  • Requiring licensees to share more information with families about the program's program philosophy (view of child learning and development).
  • Information about use of private wells for water.
  • Updated information about smoking in or near the licensed space.
  • Updated information about first-aid kits.
  • Adding a requirement for ground cover in fall zones near swings and play equipment.
  • Adding limitations to screen time.
  • New rules regarding satellite kitchens.
  • Increasing education requirements for program directors.

The Department of Early Learning (DEL) began the process of updating these rules in 2009, when we contracted with School's Out Washington to create recommendations for the rules. School's Out Washington brought together key stakeholders to deliver these recommendations to DEL.

DEL filed formal proposed rules on Sept. 5, 2012, and held public hearings in Seattle and Yakima. We also accepted comments online.View a list of those comments and how they informed the rules.
School-age providers who have questions should contact their licensor.