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Parents should check day care centers for signs of hazards that could endanger their children, a University of Tennessee child care specialist said Wednesday.

Dr. Jan Allen, a UT-Knoxville child and families studies professor, said the Consumer Products Safety Commission-s recent announcement about unsafe daycare conditions is a reminder for parents to select carefully when choosing daycare.

“There are more children hurt at home and backyard playgrounds than on daycare playgrounds, and special emphasis is placed on safety and supervision in childcare,” Allen said, “but unsafe situations still exist.

“Parents must watch closely for any potential problems which might be present in their child-s daycare setting.”

The commission study found 66 percent of 220 daycare centers had at least one safety hazard that put children at risk. Fifty-six children have died in child-care settings since 1990, it reported.

Allen said the Knoxville Child-Care Information and Referral Office, operated by UT-Knoxville, publishes a list of safeguards parents can use to assess daycare safety.

The office advises parents to check daycare centers for:

– A posted, up-to-date license.

– Attractive, clean, well-lit facilities.

– Safe, suitable materials, supplies and equipment.

– Adequate spaces so children can move freely.

– Proper, safe sleeping places for naps.

– First aid supplies, fire extinguishers, telephones and emergency numbers.

– Clean kitchen, bathroom and diapering areas.

– Action plans for child injury and illness.

– A safe, well-maintained playground.

“Responsive caregiving must take place in a setting that is consistently safe and supportive,” Allen said. “In a safe, nurturing, interactive setting, children can feel confident to fully explore and experience their environment free from injury or harm.”

The Knoxville Child-Care Information and Referral Office can be reached at 974-8911.