Child sitting is a simple service provided as a convenience to health club clients. There is an important legal distinction between the babysitting services provided in health clubs and regulated day care centers. Clubs need to meet the following two criteria to avoid being classified as a day care facility:
A parent or guardian who brings the child must stay at the facility.
Children cannot stay at the facility more than 2 hours.
All staff members that will be present in the babysitting area must be pre-screened before being hired. There are a variety of background-check companies such as www.backgroundchecks.com where state and federal criminal records can be checked inexpensively. It is also recommended that references be required and checked.
Accessible chemicals present one of the most common and easily correctable risks in the babysitting area. It is an OSHA violation to store cleaning chemicals in open spaces or in unlocked closets. Solution: Don't store chemicals in the babysitting area!
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends obtaining a Choke Test Cylinder (found online and in toy stores) to determine whether a toy contains small parts that may be a choking hazard. Any part of the toy, including parts that can break off from the toy, which fits completely in this cylinder, is considered a small part and a potential choking hazard. Small balls have stricter guidelines since round objects can completely block the airway; any ball less than 1.75 inches is banned for sale to children under 3.
Electrical outlets are always a danger to small children. All electrical outlets should be covered with safety caps or safety outlet faceplates. Make sure that cleaning crews replace safety caps after they are done vacuuming the area at night.
EQUIPMENT AND FURNITURE DANGERS
In areas accessible to small children, heavy equipment and furniture, such as storage shelves, television stands, etc., can become a hazard if not properly secured to the wall or floor.
• Televisions should be secured with wall and ceiling mounts.
• Storage shelves should be securely fastened to walls using brackets. When possible, shelves should be wall mounted and the lowest shelf should be placed at least 3'-5' off the ground to prevent children from climbing on them.