Florida Day Care Centers – What Rules / Laws Apply to Outdoor Play Areas and Playgrounds?

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Child care will become a common experience for the majority of children living in Florida. Many families with children under the age of six have parents that work outside the home. Therefore, in order for parents to be able to work and meet basic economic obligations, child care becomes a vital aspect of daily life. The Florida Legislature has recognized the importance of safety and quality in child care.

The Florida Administrative Code, Rule 65C-22.002- Physical Environment, sets forth requirements that all Florida Day Care Centers are required to follow in regards to their outdoor play areas and playgrounds. The outdoor play area, which should be clean and free of hazards and litter, must be 45 square feet per child in any group using it at a time. The play area should provide shade and must be adequately fenced in accordance with local ordinances to protect children from water hazards nearby such as pools, ditches, and retention or fish ponds. Accidental drownings are the leading cause of death in young children, so it is crucial that all fences do not have any gaps that would allow children to exit the outdoor play area. In addition, the child care faculty must situate themselves in an area where they can properly supervise the children at all times. For more information, see Rule 65C-22.002.