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Know Your Regs

Have you ever had a Department of Health inspector come to your day care and write you up for a violation? Thought you were in compliance with all of the regulations only to be surprised you had missed something? Wished you had known the ins and outs of the DOH inspector’s checklist?

If you have, you’re not alone. According to UFT Provider Chapter Vice-Chair Gladys Jones, innumerable providers are written up each year by inspectors for violating regulations of which they weren’t aware, tarnishing their otherwise impeccable records as early childhood educators.

Two years ago Jones herself was tripped up by regulation 417.4 (c), which deals with smoke detectors and fire safety. Jones’ fire detectors passed muster when the local ladder company visited her for a routine fire inspection. When the DOH inspector came, however, he wrote her up for a violation: although her electric smoke detectors were in working order, she didn’t have the battery-powered back-up mandated in 417.4 (c).

If the FDNY didn’t know this regulation, why would anyone else?

Although at the time Gladys thought her violation was unfair, in retrospect she says she realizes the importance of the regulation: if she had had an electrical fire in her home, the electric smoke detectors would not have worked. The moral of the story: even the most obscure regulations often have an important purpose and all should be closely followed.

To make your task easier, we have compiled the following list of ten common health and safety violations. Learn them well. They’ll keep you out of trouble with DOH – and keep the kids in your care healthy, happy and out of harm’s way.

  1. 413.2 (j): Group family day care home means a residence in which child day care is provided on a regular basis for more than three hours per day per child for seven to 12 children.
  2. 417.5 (b): A written plan for the emergency evacuation of children is posted in a conspicuous place within the home, or is filed in a place in the home available to parents.
  3. 417.5 (m): There is a working phone available in the home. Call blocking is not used to block incoming calls from parents or legal guardians of children in care, representatives of the Office or agents of the state or local government during the hours of operation of the child day care program.
  4. 417.5 (k): Hazardous or poisonous plants in indoor and outdoor areas are not accessible to children.
  5. 417.4 (c): Operating smoke detectors are located on each floor in the home and outside each area where children are napping.
  6. 417.4 (f): At least two alternate means of egress are accessible and remote from each other on all floors occupied by children.
  7. 417.5 (f) (2): Barriers to prevent children’s access are in place around areas near fireplaces, wood or coal burning stoves, permanently installed gas space heaters, and other unsafe areas.
  8. 417.5 (i): All electrical outlets are covered.
  9. 417.5 (f) (1): There are sufficiently high and secured barriers to prevent children’s access to any swimming pool, drainage ditches, wells, ponds or other bodies of open water on or adjacent to any other unsafe, dangerous or hazardous area or devices.
  10. 417.5 (g): The day care children use no spa pools, hot tubs, or fill-and-drain wading pools. When a residential or non-public swimming pool is used the provider has received Office approval for use.