Report roundup: Parents share their childcare concerns

When parents select a childcare or preschool, many factors play a role in the decision-making process. This month’s Mott Poll report asked parents of children 1-5 about various health, safety, educational and practical factors that affect their decision to choose a childcare option. Parents and media across the country have chimed in on this topic – here’s a roundup of the conversation.

Health and safety standards

Parents want childcare options that meet specific health and safety standards, but two-thirds of parents say it’s hard to find options that fit the bill. This was the focus of a HealthDay article, Most U.S. parents can’t find good childcare: Survey. Reporter Robert Preidt noted that only half of parents were confident in their ability to tell if a childcare option was safe and healthy. “Our poll demonstrates the challenge of choosing a preschool or childcare setting that meets all of a parent’s criteria,” said Mott Poll co-director Sarah Clark. “Safety and health factors are important to parents, but too often, parents aren’t sure how to determine if a childcare option is safe and healthy.”

That’s a deal-breaker

Some concerns parents have about the health and safety of a childcare option turn out to be the biggest deal-breakers when it comes to choosing an option. This was covered by a WTOP piece, Survey: ‘Sketchy’ location no. 1 deal-breaker in child care search. Reporter Jack Moore highlighted the top deal-breakers among parents in the poll: a location in a sketchy area, a gun on the premises, and other adults (non-staff) on the premises. In regards to the safety of a location, Clark notes that “seventy percent of parents said it would be a deal-breaker if the location of the facility was in a ‘sketchy’ area or somewhere that just didn’t seem safe.”

Tips for choosing a childcare option

To help parents struggling to find the right place for their child, U-M Mott pediatrician Dr. Andrew Hashikawa offers some insights to ease the stress in a Michigan Health Blog post, How to choose a child care provider: 6 tips from a pediatrician. Dr. Hashikawa suggests that parents start planning early. “As soon as you’re thinking about having a baby, you need to start the process,” Dr. Hashikawa says. “A lot of the good child care centers have waitlists." He also suggests parents check the credentials of the facility. Licensed providers offer a “stamp of approval” that can help give parents peace of mind that the center is safe and qualified.