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Every week, join Whitney Quick as she helps you navigate life as a smart consumer. You'll cover everything in avoiding the latest scams, including phishing emails, medical equipment fraud, understanding layaway, hiring a reputable tax preparer, and even digital spring cleaning. Add to your toolbox and flip through your Consumer Handbook Thursdays during NPR’s Morning Edition at 6:42 a.m. and 8:42 a.m., only on KRCU.

Consumer Handbook: How to a Child Care Facility

Teacher At Montessori School Reading To Children At Story Time
monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Teacher At Montessori School Reading To Children At Story Time

One of the hardest and most important choices working parents can make is deciding who will care for their children while they’re at work. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic complicate the choice. This makes it all the more important for parents to take plenty of time to find safe, reliable child care that suits their children and schedules.

BBB processed about 300 complaints about child care in 2021. Common complaints included billing and contract issues, problems with student records, and quality of care. Parents need to determine first what kind of care they need -- full or part-time, in-home or facility-based. Consider the location in relation to your home and work, the hours, cost and educational opportunities for the children.

Recommendations from family or friends can be helpful, and government agencies or industry organizations also can be a source of information. However, it is up to parents to find care that is appropriate for their children. Parents need to take time to visit facilities, ask about the staff’s training and experience, and find out how the center handles medical emergencies as well as COVID-19 exposure.

Children may spend a large part of their waking hours in a day care setting, so it’s important to find out what education or stimulation may be offered to help your child develop. Make sure the center or day care home is clean, with enough space for children to play and adequate safety equipment.