Child Safety Issues


During recent visits to various YMCAs, we observed procedures and conditions which are inconsistent with safe operating practices. If you haven’t already done so, please consider the following standards in order to protect your members, your employees and your YMCA:

  1. Children should be released only to preauthorized adults, who must sign each child out of the facility every time they leave. A current list of authorized adults for each enrolled child should be readily accessible in the checkout area. Temporary or emergency releases should be preauthorized (with a verification procedure) by a listed adult. (Children have been released to authorized adults without having the adult sign-out, and children have been released to adults whom the child and/or the staff member obviously know, but who are not on the authorized list. Both instances place the YMCA and the children in a potentially dangerous situation.)
  2. One-to-one situations between staff members and children should be discouraged. If necessary, they should be conducted in an area that allows visibility by other staff, children, or adults. (We have observed one-to-one situations, including a babysitting room that had inadequate external visibility into the area and a bathroom door that was latched, rather than partially closed for modesty, when a staff member assisted a child.)
  3. Hot liquids (e.g., tea, coffee, hot chocolate, etc.) should be forbidden in child care areas. Any consumption of hot beverages should be done in break areas away from children. (We have noticed hot beverages in child care areas, and this could result in accidentally spilling the drink and burning a child.)
  4. Cabinet doors should be locked or provided with child-proof latches to prevent access to the space and the stored goods, and to prevent injury from corners of the open doors. (We have found unlocked doors without latches, once with cleaning products under the sink.)
  5. Electrical outlets in areas accessible to young children should be protected by child-resistant outlet covers or any similar device. The plastic inserts are inadequate as children are much more adept in removing them than an adult, and they demonstrate that something can be inserted into the opening. (Often, we find unprotected and insert “protected” outlets.)
  6. Tempered safety glass, lexan, or similar materials should be used for any glass within 18” of the floor in child care areas. Each pane should bear the manufacturer’s mark. (Both inappropriate and questionable [because of a lack of marking] panes were encountered.)

Please call us at 800-463-8546 to discuss this or any other risk management safety tip, or visit our web site at to learn more about YMCA risk management issues.


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