A-B. Section 14/ Environment and Safety

A. General condition of the building and surrounding Premises. A Provider must take immediate steps to correct any condition in the physical building or on the Premises, which poses a danger to Children’s life, health or safety.

1. Stairs used by Children must be equipped with solidly mounted handrails.

2. Stairs must be enclosed by walls or railings. Stairs in areas used by Infants, toddlers and preschool Children must be protected by a gate or door.

3. Electrical outlets in areas used by Infants, toddlers and preschool Children must be protected by safety caps, plugs, tamper-resistant outlets, or other means.

4. Any Medications, Toxic Substances, Hazardous Materials, and other items dangerous to Children such as matches, lighters, fireworks, and power tools must be kept where Children cannot access them.

5. Smoking is prohibited on the Premises when Children are present.

6. Strings and cords long enough to encircle a Child’s neck (six inches or more) must not be accessible to Children unless the Child is engaged in a recreational or educational activity with an Adult.

7. Equipment with an electrical cord must be anchored to the wall to prevent falling, or the cord must be inaccessible to Infants, toddlers and preschool Children.

8. The Provider must have a phone in working condition on the Premises.

9. (NEW) A Provider may Lock the main entrance of their home and/or the Premises to prevent access from the exterior, provided that the door can be freely opened from the interior and there is a means to inform the Provider of the arrival of Parents/Legal Guardians or other visitors.

10. Toys and equipment must be kept clean and in safe working order.

11. The fall zone under and around all indoor play equipment which would buffer a fall from a height of more than 29 inches must be covered with shock-absorbing mats or materials which extend at least 39 inches beyond the outside edge of the equipment in all directions. If the play structure exceeds 48 inches in height, the shock absorbing mat must be at least two inches thick.

12. (NEW) Furnishings, other heavy items, and/or items that could easily tip over or are unstable must be secured to the wall or floor.

13. The provider must Clean surfaces daily in all areas where Children are present. Cleaning products must not be used in close proximity to Children and adequate ventilation must be maintained during use.

14. (NEW) Children are not allowed to be near power equipment while it is being operated and power equipment must be stored out of reach or have safeguards to prevent any Child from being injured when not in use.

15. (NEW) Provider’s purses, bags, Medications and other belongings must be inaccessible to Children.

16. (NEW) All entrances and exits must be clear for evacuation at all times.

17. (NEW) Providers must empty trash, recycling, and compost containers and remove the contents from childcare space when the containers are filled, or sooner if contents create an odor or a health risk.

B. Outdoor playtime and indoor activities.

1. (NEW) Children in attendance for more than four hours and over the age of 12 months shall have a minimum of 60 minutes active play outdoors daily. Infants must go outside at least once daily.

2. (NEW) When weather presents a risk to Children in accordance with Child Care Weather Watch and the Air Quality Index as provided below, gross motor activity will be substituted for outdoor time.

3. Provider must monitor the local weather and follow the recommendations of the Department’s Child Care Weather Watch.

4. (NEW) Provider must monitor the local air quality index as reported by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, which can be accessed at https://www.airnow.gov/. If the air quality index is “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” (USG) or higher, Children must be kept indoors.

5. (NEW) Television, video viewing, and/or use of the computer or hand-held electronic devices shall be educational, age appropriate, and limited to ninety minutes or less per day. Alternative activities for children must be made available during these times.

This requirement was not present in the proposed Rule for direct public comment. It was not present in the past Licensing Rule.

If you believe your educational usage of technology is developmentally appropriate, and thus you believe that you fall outside of the regulation as written, you do have the option to submit a program specific waiver for consideration.

** Online Air Quality Daily Forecast for Maine Current and expected air quality concentrations for the upcoming 24 hours. Air quality forecasts are scheduled to be updated by 3:00 pm weekdays and other times as necessary. Forecasts are also available on the Bureau’s Air Quality Hotline at (800) 223-1196.

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