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Kids Zone

Sadie Adams, left, and Matthew Kaperleris, right, look at their books during reading time Sept. 13, 2017, at the Twin Falls Reformed Church Kids Zone in Twin Falls.

31 requirements for child care centers

Licensed Idaho child care facilities must meet 31 state requirements, set by the Idaho Administrative Code, during regular inspections.

There are no tiers to classify the severity of violations. If a facility receives a violation, it’s given a date by which to comply. That date can range from the following day to several weeks away, depending on what the violation is, and how long it will take to correct.

Here are the requirements:

Age and health of provider: Providers applying for a license must be at least 18 years old. Assistants at a facility can be 16 or 17 years old if they’re directly supervised. Caregivers can’t work while they’re ill.

CPR/first aid training: At least one adult with current certification must be at the center while children are present or in a vehicle while transporting children.

Child-staff ratio: A point system is used to determine an acceptable staffing level, based on children’s age. More adult supervision is needed for younger children.

Staff/children excluded when ill

Immunization records: The provider must have immunization records for every child within 14 days of enrollment.

Emergency communication: A working telephone or cell phone is required, and the phone number must be shared with parents and guardians.

Fire safety: There must adequate emergency exits (and no child care on a second floor without approved exits), plus at least one fire extinguisher that’s inspected yearly, and a smoke detector (with a test button) for each hallway, sleeping area and level of the building.

Fire evacuation plan: A plan must include exit locations, evacuation routes, a meeting location, fire extinguisher locations and a regular drill schedule.

Disaster and emergency planning: It must document policies and procedures for responding to a natural disaster or human-caused event.

Food source/food thawing: Food must come from an acceptable source — and can’t include home-canned foods except jams or jellies, or wild game meat unless it’s approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Food handling/hygiene: Food must be prepared and served in a sanitary way. Employees must wash hands often.

Food thermometers: Refrigerators must have a functioning thermometer, and perishable food must be stored below 41 degrees.

Food storage

Food sanitation: Surfaces where food is prepared or served must be kept clean and sanitized.


Utensil storage: Must be stored clean, not under sinks or on the floor, and knives must be out of children’s reach in drawers with child-proof latches.

Medicines/hazardous substances: Must be stored out of reach of children or in a locked cabinet.

Garbage handling

Plumbing/sewage disposal

Water supply

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Handwashing facilities: Providers must supply soap, hot and cold running water, and paper towels. The kitchen sink cannot be used for handwashing after diaper changes.

Diaper changing facilities: Must be separate from food preparation and serving areas. Employees must also use disposable gloves, wash their hands between each diaper change, and sanitize the changing surface — which must be smooth and nonabsorbent — after each diaper change.

Firearms storage: Must be in a locked container and inaccessible to children. Ammunition must be in a separate locked container.

Water hazards: Bodies of water such as a pool must be fenced (at least 4 feet high), locked and inaccessible to children.

Smoking/alcohol consumption: Prohibited during operating hours when children are present.

Sleeping, play areas and restrooms clean

Heat, light, ventilation

Outdoor play areas: They must be free from hazards, and play equipment must be safe, anchored and easily supervised.

Animal vaccinations: Vaccination records must be available, and animals must be in good health and friendly.

General safety: Electrical cords and outlets must be in good repair. The center must prevent stairway access to children 3 and younger. Items that are choking hazards must be inaccessible to children. And the center must have adequate railings for balconies and stairs.

Transportation safety



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