Keeping Children Safe in Daycare

A horrible accident at a daycare sent a one-year-old to Memorial Health, where he remains in critical condition today. The child was injured from a falling TV. Police tell us the daycare owner--Alicia Telfair--did not have an operator's license for the 17 children in her care and the other 16 were removed from her home.

Telfair had previously owned a license to care for only six children.

Police, along with the city and the Department of Family and Children Services are all investigating.

What can parents do to protect children? The most important thing.visit the facility your child is attending.and double-check it is licensed, which is open and easy to access for everyone.

Hazel Smith has been in childcare for 34 years. To her, news of a child being critically injured at an unlicensed establishment is shocking. "It was very unfortunate to have something happen like that," she said.

Westside Academy is a licensed facility and works hard to comply. Like at most childcare centers, an inspector visits their place three times a year. In fact, one of the things they had to correct was a problem with their TV.

"I had a TV on a wooden stand," Smith told us. "She told me I was going to have to mount it or build in so it couldn't be toppled."

The Department of Family and Children Services provides funding to families if they need help sending their children to childcare, and only list licensed places like Westside Academy. They say it's then the parents' responsibility to do their homework to find an appropriate facility.

A licensed place should be clean, have safe physical surroundings and playgrounds, have healthy snacks, and the appropriate ratios of children to adults. That's different for each age group and size establishment.

"Drop in unannounced to make sure the daycare or childcare provider is giving the care you expect as a parent," advised DFACS director Charlotte Rehmert.

They also say use resources like Childcare Resource and Referral centers or the United Way for up-to-date information on if your childcare center meets the criteria.

If you have questions about a childcare center, log on to the Brite from the Start website , which is the State of Georgia's childcare site that lists the licensed centers and if they are up to standard.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro,