Gym Daycare Centers: Too Good to Be True?
Gyms today are offering daycare centers, where busy parents can drop off their children before a workout. This may be a great amenity; however, you should be aware that the state does not regulate drop-off daycare centers in Arizona. Before entrusting a gym daycare with the care and safety of your child, take the time to investigate the center and its staff.
How Gym Daycare Centers Operate
Some gyms offer a nursery for infants and toddlers plus a kid’s club environment for older children. Parents can drop off their children for up to several hours while they make use of gym facilities. The state does not regulate drop-off daycare centers at gyms in Arizona in the same way traditional daycare centers are. They lack state-mandated policies and procedures, rules and regulations regarding care and supervision of children, mandatory inspections, and Child Protective Services background checks on staff.
Problems with Gym Daycare Centers in the News
A father who left his 18-month-old child at a gym childcare center in Glendale, AZ found her wandering the main floor 20 minutes later, as reported by USA Today. The child was alone, with no adult supervision or knowledge of the staff. In response to their complaints, the child’s parents were awarded a $429 refund of the unused portion of their gym membership. They were told by the agency they contacted that drop-off daycare centers are not subject to oversight by the state. It is reported that there have been safety issues with gym childcare centers throughout the country.
Questions to Ask Gym Daycare Managers
Before you drop off your child at a gym childcare center for the first time, check out their service carefully. The following are questions to ask the gym daycare manager or find out for yourself:
- What are the daycare hours of operation? Is there a limit to the number of children allowed at one time, or the length of time a child can stay?
- What are the age minimums or maximums? Some gym daycare centers require children to be potty-trained.
- Is leaving the facility while your child is in daycare allowed? You will want to know this if you plan to walk or run outside the gym.
- Are childcare services included in your gym membership, or is there an additional cost? It is common for gyms to charge a few dollars per hour for childcare.
- How are childcare staff screened and trained? At a minimum, the facility should run a criminal background check on every person it hires, and staff should be trained in first aid and CPR.
- What is the ratio of children to caregivers? The smaller the ratio, the better. Find out if the gym daycare has on-call staff in case of a large group of kids, or whether they turn children away.
- What are the center’s guidelines for diapering and snacks? Some gym daycares will not change diapers. If children are served snacks, how healthy and age-appropriate are they?
- Is the facility safe and clean? Look around to see if the space is clean, with toys and furniture in good repair. Pay attention to how the center smells and the types of sounds you hear (crying and scolding vs. happy activity).
Although drop-off daycare centers are not state-regulated, that does not mean you cannot file a claim based on negligence. If your child was injured at a gym daycare center, call (602) 267-1280 to contact a Phoenix child daycare injury attorney at Breyer Law Offices, P.C.
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