Caring for children in a home daycare business has many rewards and freedoms. However, you also face a lot of risks by opening your home to many different families. Here are some tips to minimize your risks without giving up the kids and business you love.
Keep Your Emergency Contacts Updated
Your risk management plan should include important contacts in case of an emergency. Gather as much information as possible for each entry, including important names, addresses, best contact phone numbers and who to contact in an emergency.
Include yourself and any daycare workers in the list, as well as all parents and people on the approved pickup list. You may also want to include an electrician, plumber, neighbor and other important contacts for the business, as well as important medical data, such as allergies and health conditions, for each child.
Now It’s Time to Do a Self-Risk Assessment
Create a list of possible risks unique to your area. You can start by reaching out to your local Red Cross chapter for information on preparing for tornadoes, earthquakes, fires or other events common in your region.
The National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) lists four distinct areas of risk management to consider:
- injuries to children
- car accidents
- property damage
Consider purchasing insurance coverage for these and other potential risks.
Write Procedures to Mitigate Risks in Each Scenario Noted Above
As a home daycare owner, your risk management plan starts to take shape with this step. It should include procedures for what to do in case of child abuse or neglect (on the part of parents or daycare workers), measures to minimize damage to property and equipment, and safety procedures regarding the business’s operation and releasing children to approved adults.
In the emergency section, some daycare owners include what to do in case of a missing child, flood or fire. Each emergency should have a separate procedure.
To reduce or eliminate accusations of neglect or abuse, you can implement an open-door policy. Allowing parents to drop by at any time can help them feel more comfortable with leaving their child in your care. It may also reduce the risk of lawsuits and accusations. Maintaining sign-in and sign-out sheets can also help prevent any issues with drop-offs or pickups.
Put the Risk Management Plan in Place
After you have documented clear policies and procedures, it’s time to train your staff to make sure everyone’s up to speed on what to do in case of an emergency. You can also distribute the plan to parents and volunteers.
To maintain the highest safety standards, you should review your risk management policies at least once a year. As new risks arise, you can include them in your policy and make any changes based on your experience and your attorney’s advice.
Are You Adequately Insured?
Protect yourself, your employees, the children in your care and your business with child daycare insurance. If you already have insurance, it’s a good idea to review your coverage with your agent at least once a year to make sure that you are fully protected.
You can’t rely on home insurance to cover every risk faced by your business. Instead, consider comprehensive business liability insurance and property insurance. With comprehensive business liability insurance, you can rest easy knowing that you’re covered in the event of a lawsuit, injury or child abuse case.
If you also transport children to and from school, the playground and field trips, you’ll need adequate coverage on your commercial vehicle. Business auto insurance has higher coverage limits and protects your business better than personal auto coverage.
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