Health and Safety Requirements

  • Health and Safety Requirements

    The Division of Early Care and Learning is responsible for the administration of health and safety rules and requirements for licensed child care facilities.

    These requirements include, but are not limited to:

    • Building and physical premises safety, including identification of and protection from hazards that can cause bodily injury such as electrical hazards, bodies of water and vehicular traffic
    • Administration of medication, consistent with standards for parental consent
    • Emergency preparedness and response planning for emergencies resulting from a natural disaster, or a man-caused event (such as violence at a child care facility)
    • First aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation
    • Handling and storage of hazardous materials and the appropriate disposal of bio contaminants
    • Precautions in transporting children
    • Prevention and control of infectious diseases, including immunization
    • Prevention of and response to emergencies due to food and allergic reactions
    • Prevention of shaken baby syndrome and abusive head trauma
    • Prevention of sudden infant death syndrome and use of safe sleeping practices

    The Division of Early Care and Learning requires professionals working in child care facilities to complete training related to each health and safety requirement. Many of these trainings are currently available on-demand and free through the Colorado Shines Professional Development and Information System or other training resources.

  • Child Abuse and Neglect Mandatory Reporting

    All licensed child care providers are mandated reporters of suspected or known child abuse or neglect. Call the statewide hotline, 1-844-CO-4-KIDS, to report suspected child abuse or neglect.

    Some of the warning signs of abuse and neglect may include:

    • Unexplained injuries
    • Changes in behavior
    • Fear of going home
    • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
    • Inappropriate sexual behaviors

    Recognition and Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect (Mandated Reporter Training) may be completed on the Colorado Shines Professional Development Information System.

  • Child Care Injury Reporting Requirements

    The Division of Early Care and Learning utilizes an Online Injury Reporting System. Child care providers must complete a report when a child in care has received emergency medical attention, has been hospitalized or if there has been a fatality.​

    Child care providers are required to complete the Online Injury Report within 24 hours of an incident. If a provider is unable to access the online system, you must use the paper form, and submit the form to the Division of Early Care and Learning within 24 hours of the incident. 

    Other injuries not requiring medical attention can be documented using the Accident/Injury Report Form developed by each facility. Child care providers must ensure that parents are notified of ALL injury or accident reports.

    In some cases, the local Child Protective Services office should be notified when an injury occurs. Examples include unexplained injuries, injuries that were not observed by an adult, an infant receiving the incorrect breast milk, near drowning, or burns.  

    Contact your licensing specialist for questions or assistance completing a report or refer to the following resources:

    Child Care Injury Prevention - Falls

    Falls are the number one cause of injury requiring medical care in child care facilities. With this information in mind, the Office of Early Childhood developed a resource, Injury Prevention - Falls: What Every Child Care Provider Should Know to provide child care programs with tips and other information regarding how to prevent and minimize the amount of falls that occur in child care environments.

  • Social, Emotional and Behavioral Health

    Child Care Policies on Suspensions and Expulsions

    Licensed Child Care Centers must have policies in place regarding guidance, positive instruction, supporting positive child behavior, and discipline and consequences. These policies must identify how the Child Care Center will:

    • Access an early childhood mental health consultant or other specialist, as needed.
    • Create and maintain a socially and emotionally respectful early learning and care environment.
    • Cultivate positive child, staff and family relationships.
    • Implement teaching strategies supporting positive behavior, pro-social peer interaction, and overall social and emotional competence in young children.
    • Provide individualized social and emotional intervention supports for children who need them, including methods for understanding child behavior and developing, adopting, and implementing a team-based positive behavior support plan with the intent to reduce challenging behavior and prevent suspensions and expulsions.

    Child Care Centers must also have policies in place defining how decisions are made and what steps are taken prior to the suspension, expulsion or request to parents or guardians to withdraw a child from care due to concerns about the child’s behavioral issues.

    Procedures must be consistent with the center’s policy on guidance, positive instruction, discipline and consequences, and include documentation of the steps taken to understand and respond to challenging behavior.

    Early Childhood Mental Health Specialists can be part of the team that works together with programs to improve social and emotional environments and relationships, and support children who are exhibiting challenging behavior.