How do I know that childcare happens at a safe location?

  • Updated

We strive to ensure that the site of any childcare arranged through Otter is safe.  Otter requires families who host childcare to complete a thorough checklist of cleanliness standards and safety precautions.  Our families cannot host childcare until they confirm that their homes meet our host safety standards:

  1. All homes
    • Must have:
      • Fire alarm
      • Carbon monoxide detector
      • Fire extinguisher
      • First aid kit
      • Childproof storage for medications
      • Poison control number prominently posted: 1-800-222-1222
      • Water heater temperature adjusted to 120 degrees Fahrenheit
      • Kitchen knives secured in a block at or above counter height
      • An attached (not free-standing) barrier separating fire from the rest of the house if a fireplace or wood stove will be in use
    • Must NOT have:
      • Exposed wiring
      • Black mold
      • Vermin (e.g. bed bugs, undomesticated rodents, or infestations of cockroaches, fleas, termites, lice, and ants)
      • Cigarette smoke and its contaminants - the home must be smoke-free for at least 30 days prior to care
      • Monitoring devices that are hidden or located in bathrooms (this includes baby monitors)
  2. Any home where children under 5 years will receive care
    • Must have:
      • [for infants under 12 months] A firm, flat sleep surface (such as a mattress in a crib) covered by only a fitted sheet, free from blankets or other soft materials, where infants under 12 months can follow safe sleep practices
      • [for children under 2 years] Safety gates installed at the top and bottom of stairs 
      • Childproof storage for cleaning chemicals
      • Outlet covers for electrical outlets lower than counter height
      • TV and furniture anchors (including dressers and bookcases)
      • Stove knob covers for gas stoves and fireplaces
      • Childproof window locks or window guards
    • Must NOT have:
      • Exposed lead paint
      • Dangling cords on blinds and drapes
      • Unsecured, accessible electrical cords for lamps and other appliances
      • Balcony railings shorter than 36 inches or with gaps between rails larger than 4 inches
  3. Homes with pools must have a fence surrounding the pool area
  4. Homes with firearms must have firearms stored unloaded in a locked container, with ammunition locked separately
  5. Homes with animals
    • Must have:
      • Up-to-date vaccines for all animals
    • Must NOT have:
      • Animals with a history of aggression or biting in shared spaces with children (if possible, animals may be kept in an area inaccessible to children)
      • Exotic or wild animals
  6. Homes with outdoor play equipment:
    • Must have
      • Guardrails around any elevated platforms
    • Are strongly encouraged to have:
      • Shock absorbing surfacing material such as wood chips or rubber mulch
    • Must NOT have:
      • Tree swings
      • Wood older than 2003
      • Free-hanging climbing ropes - any ropes must be secured at both ends




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