You can’t control the weather! But did you know that having a daycare inclement weather policy can help reduce the number of closures you have to make? Plus, having a policy in place helps to provide clarity for both you and your parents. It can help ensure everyone is on the same page when making decisions about weather-related closures.
What is a Daycare Inclement Weather Policy?
A daycare inclement weather policy is a set of guidelines that daycare providers use to decide whether or not to close their daycare in severe weather.
Why Should You Have an Inclement Weather Policy?
There are several reasons why having an inclement weather policy is a good idea:
- It clarifies what to expect in severe weather for your daycare parents and yourself. A policy can help to avoid confusion and frustration on both sides.
- It helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to making decisions about closures.
- Having a policy in place shows that you are taking the safety of yourself and your daycare families seriously.
Inclement Weather Policy Considerations
When developing an inclement weather policy for daycares, the following factors should be considered when deciding to close your daycare due to inclement weather.
- Local news should be consulted to get accurate information on road and weather conditions.
- Local school closures.
- The current amount of rain, snow, and/or ice accumulation and anticipated precipitation throughout the day.
- Likelihood of an evacuation due to overland flooding.
- Extreme temperatures, including wind chill, must be factored in.
- If weather alerts were issued.
- The anticipated storm timing, trajectory, and projection.
- The likelihood of disruptions to the building services. Such as electricity and/or heat services.
Considering all of these factors, you can make the best decision regarding whether to close due to inclement weather.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself when creating your policy.
- How and when are you going to make the decision on inclement weather? (Closure before the opening of the daycare and closure of the daycare during regular operating hours)
- How do you plan on contacting parents in case of an inclement weather closure? (Phone call, text message, or email)
- What inclement weather criteria are you going to use to determine a closure?
- How are you going to communicate your policy to parents?
- How often will you review the policy and make changes?
Example of an Inclement Weather Policy For Daycares
We understand that families need time to make arrangements in the event of a closure due to inclement weather. We strive to make any closure decisions as far in advance as possible. Our decision to close will be made by 5:00 a.m. on the morning of the closure. Unless an extreme weather alert was issued the night prior for the following day. If conditions worsen during the day and we are forced to close, we will contact you as soon as possible. Communications will be sent by text message. We appreciate your cooperation.
Daycare Outside Temperature Rules To Consider
You first need to consider the age of the children in your care. Infants and toddlers are more susceptible to weather-related illnesses because they have difficulty regulating their body temperature. They also can’t communicate as well as older children if they feel too hot or cold. For these reasons, taking extra precautions with younger children when spending time outdoors is essential.
Winter Weather Guidelines for Daycare Providers
Depending on the age of your daycare children, different temperatures can be considered too cold for outside play. This section will review some winter cut-off temperature guidelines for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. These are general guidelines; always check with your agency for more up-to-date rules for your jurisdiction.
If the conditions are colder than 6.8°F/-14°C, and there is significant wind, use your discretion to decide whether to allow children outside.
Toddlers and preschool:
If the temperature outside is colder than -4°F/-20°C, daycare providers should use their discretion regarding the length of time spent outdoors, wind gusts, and the amount of sunshine. Appropriate winter gear should also be considered.
Summer Weather Guidelines for Daycare Providers
When the warmer months start rolling around, you may begin to think about bringing your daycare activities outdoors. Fresh air and Vitamin D are awesome for kids. Still, there are a few things you need to consider before you move more of your daycare activities outside. This section will cover some of the summer temperature rules you need to be aware of when operating a daycare.
Infant and Toddlers
If the outside temperature is above 90°F/+32°C, it’s best to keep infants and toddlers indoors. If you must take them outside, ensure they’re in the shade and have access to plenty of water. Dress them in loose, cool clothing and monitor them closely for signs of heat exhaustion or dehydration.
Older children can handle being in warmer temperatures for more extended periods of time, but that doesn’t mean they’re immune to heat-related illness. Ensure they take lots of breaks in the shade and drink lots of water, even if they’re not complaining about being thirsty. And as always, dress them in loose, cool clothing.
Also, use your discretion when the air quality is poor, or there are strong wind gusts.
As a daycare provider, it’s important to be prepared for everything – including bad weather. By being prepared and having an Inclement weather plan, you can ensure the safety of the children in your care while also providing peace of mind to their parents. So don’t wait – put a policy in place today!