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Regulators Find Shortcomings at Conn. Child-Care Facilities, Analysis Says

Connecticut child-care facilities had a non-compliance rate greater than 10 percent on seven of 13 state requirements when surprised by state regulators making routine visits, an analysis published in the October edition of the American Journal of Public Health found.

Playground safety was most problematic, with nearly 50 percent of centers failing to meet standards, the report states. Violations of indoor safety and health standards were also documented, as were failures in child and staff documentation and emergency preparedness.

"Our findings revealed several health and safety challenges, which pose risks for the transmission of infectious diseases and prevalence of injuries," wrote Angela A. Crowley, Sangchoon Jeon, and Marjorie S. Rosenthal, who analyzed visits from 2006 to 2008 at 676 child-care centers done by the Connecticut Department of Public Health. This represents 41 percent of all facilities operating during those years.

For example, plastic bags, balloons, and Styrofoam were within reach of young children, and rules for diaper changing were not always followed, the authors wrote.

Those weren't the only problems, the study stated.

While Connecticut ranks 10th with regard to strong regulations, the oversight is 49th, according to the Arlington, Va.-based National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, the analysis said.

Furthermore, the reports authored by those responsible for checking health and safety of child-care centers were inconsistent, the authors added.

"Approximately 60 percent of children younger than 6 years both in Connecticut and nationally have mothers in the workforce," the authors wrote. "In Connecticut, about 85,000 young children are cared for in approximately 1,600 licensed child care centers and group homes."

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