Minnesota lawmakers appear in favor of new state guidelines recommending that home-based child care providers physically check on sleeping infants in their homes every 15 to 30 minutes. This was a compromise from initial legislation that would have made such checks mandatory -- in an effort to curb the recent increase in child deaths in Minnesota's home day cares.
But while this legislation inches closer to passage -- the state House has approved the measure and the Senate appears close to doing so -- at least one national expert doesn't believe it will make a substantial impact. Amie Lapp Payne, a child care consultant in Texas, wrote an influential national study on child care regulations and how they vary state to state.
A recommendation of 15-minute checks might not change much, she said. “If it’s a requirement, then it’s enforceable. If it’s just a recommendation, then it is not enforceable.”
COMMENTS: It is best practice for the caregiver/teacher to remain in the same room as the infants when they are sleeping to provide constant supervision. However in small family child care programs, this may be difficult in practice because the caregiver/teacher is typically alone, and all of the children most likely will not sleep at the same time. In order to provide constant supervision during sleep, caregivers/teachers could consider discontinuing the practice of placing infant(s) in a separate room for sleep, but instead placing the infant’s crib in the area used by the other children so the caregiver/teacher is able to supervise the sleeping infant(s) while caring for the other children. Care must be taken so that placement of cribs in an area used by other children does not encroach upon the minimum usable floor space requirements. Infants do not require a dark and quiet place for sleep. Once they become accustomed, infants are able to sleep without problems in environments with light and noise.