What equipment is needed for a daycare centre?

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    Whether you're running a small home daycare or a big, multi-location daycare business, one thing's for sure: You need a lot of daycare supplies to make it through the day! From diapers to toys to the all-important hand sanitiser, here's our list of must-have daycare supplies for your daycare or child care centre.

    You understand how certain pieces of equipment are necessary for running a safe, successful operation. Children depend on educated caregivers and smart equipment investments to keep them secure and protected.

    Child care equipment, like high chairs, strollers and cribs, should streamline routines for your staff. While also providing safety and comfort to the children, toddlers, and newborns you care for daily. No matter the size of your child care centre, these six equipment choices are essential for success.

    A daycare centre requires specific equipment and supplies to provide quality care for the children. Securing these supplies creates the physical environment of the daycare to prepare it for opening day. Quality supplies free of potential dangers are key when stocking your daycare centre. Inferior products or used equipment with safety issues leave the children open to injury.

    Safety Supplies

    Keeping your kiddos safe is your top priority. A good daycare supplies list includes first aid kits, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, an emergency preparedness kit, and an emergency plan, among other things. In addition, be sure to check your local government's emergency preparedness guidelines so you can be sure you meet all of the legal requirements.

    Cleaning Supplies

    You love your little ones for sure, but let's face it: They're messy germ factories! You'll want to stock your child care or daycare centre with cleaning supplies, bathroom supplies, hand sanitiser, and develop a plan for regularly sanitising toys and furniture.

    Some toys/areas in your daycare will need to be cleaned daily. Others only need to be cleaned once a month or as needed. Again, check your state's guidelines so you can be sure you're compliant with any regulations.

    Furniture & Equipment

    Your child care centre will need appropriately sized furniture for both play, feeding, and sleeping areas. You'll also need tables and chairs for older kiddos and high chairs or boosters for the little ones.

    Nap mats or cribs are essential, of course, as are step stools for the bathroom. Finally, you'll need shelves or a storage system to hold your play materials and daycare supplies for your play area.

    • Child-size recliner
    • Coat/Dress-up Rack
    • Cow Rocker (toddler) with washable cover
    • Easy Grip Paint Brushes
    • Flannel board with scenery
    • Infant Bouncer Car
    • Kitchen Microwave/Oven/Sink
    • Baby Bouncer
    • Large Felt Boards (30″ x 40″)
    • Lightbox Desk & Chair
    • Nap Mats
    • Observation Activity Table
    • Playpen
    • Play structures both indoor and outdoor
    • Playhouses that are big enough
    • Red Boppy with Animals and Arc
    • Round Lego Table & Chair
    • Riding Objects such as tricycles
    • Safety Gate
    • Safety Mirror/Baby Mirror
    • Sand & Water Table with lid
    • Sandbox with Lid
    • Small Table with 2 Chairs
    • Swing Sets
    • Tent (teepee)
    • Toddler Slide
    • Tool Box with Tool Rack
    • Tool Workshop
    • Transportation Activity Rug
    • Tri-fold Beauty Shop & Stool

    Child Care Cribs And Mattresses

    Commercial cribs should promote safety, comfort, and functionality as an integral component of your child care centre's infant area. When selecting the right cribs for your business, consider models that can easily be converted to an evacuation crib with a kit. In addition, these cribs feature improved safety features like sturdy caster wheels and easy-grip handles, which allow for easier mobility in the event of an emergency.

    To make busy days more efficient for your infant teachers, look for cribs with clear view end panels. Cribs with 360-degree visibility give caregivers an unobstructed view of sleeping or resting babies, making overseeing a room full of infants much easier.

    Selecting a crib mattress is a weighty decision as well. Comfortable crib mattresses can promote calm and relaxation while infants are away from the familiarity of home. Keep those babies content and safe with mattresses free of unnecessary chemicals, like flame retardant additives.

    Mattresses, like Infapure, are made of virgin foam, providing a naturally safe cushion.

    Multi-child Daycare Strollers


    Safeguarding your centre's children is a top priority – whether inside your facility or out for a stroll with four kids. The right multi-child stroller can make outdoor adventures enjoyable for both the passengers and the operator. For safety, strollers should be equipped with a braking system that allows operators to bring strollers to an immediate stop when necessary. Foundation's SafeBreak™ system is instantly engaged when the braking handle is released, carrying the stroller to a quick halt if separated from the caregiver. Never worry about runaway strollers on hills or during an emergency again.

    Whatever the size of your daycare facility, Foundations has you covered with multi-seat strollers that fit anywhere from two to six children—something to take into account when considering staffing needs for outdoor excursions.

    Your caregivers can easily transport and supervise many children with confidence. When outfitting your child care centre with strollers, consider the equipment's storage convenience before purchasing. Any daycare-friendly stroller will incorporate collapsible functionality for compact storage and portability.

    Daycare Storage Units

    Equipment that is convenient and saves time for employees also improves their ability to care for your centre's children. Less conspicuous items, like storage units, can often make a big impact on the productivity of your daycare team. Whether shelving is used to store daycare necessities or children's belongings, thoughtfully placed and well-organised storage units increased your centre's efficiency and functionality.

    Parents also like it when our storage systems have a cubby for each child's spare diapers, change of clothes, and toys. Of course, if any shelving or storage units are within reach of curious children, the proper safety precautions should be taken. Anchoring furniture to walls and installing locks on cabinet doors might be necessary, depending on the equipment's location and contents.

    Children's Cots

    Outside of your infant room, cots are your facility's go-to equipment for little nappers. As a daily workhorse for your toddler through preschool rooms, this equipment must be durable, sanitary and fast to set up/put away.

    Although cots may not seem inherently dangerous, certain design features could pose a risk, especially after wearing them from daily use. Look for cots that use anti-fraying material, as well as designs that eliminate gaps or wells where tiny arms and legs could get caught.

    Additionally, easily wiped clean cots after use or extended stays in storage will improve efficiency and cleanliness.

    Toddler Step Stools

    Little ones will need a step up to reach sinks, counters and other areas throughout the day. Normal stepping stools can do the job but may lack added safety features for small children still mastering their coordination skills.

    A wide base and nonslip legs will help prevent a step stool from tipping. Some seats are equipped with higher, supportive frames that act as a handle to lessen the chance of a fall. Step stools with nonslip treads are especially useful in bathrooms.

    Child Care Feeding Chairs

    Mealtime at your child care centre can be controlled or chaotic. Having valuable equipment, like high-quality feeding chairs and a good room layout, will make all the difference. Each unit should be equipped with a secure harness or belt and a base that will keep the chair from tilting or falling, even if tasked with containing a hungry baby who isn't sitting still. Like Foundations' Secure Sitter Premier, feeding chairs adjust to 4 different heights and allow children, of all ages, to self-load with minimal assistance from their teachers. Ease of cleaning should play a big part in feeding chair selection too. Look for smooth surfaces, minimal wells and straps that won't trap or absorb liquid.

    Running a daycare facility takes a massive amount of expertise, organisation and supplies, not to mention love. While each centre will have different needs based on size or location, purchasing high-quality equipment will set your employees up for success and ensure a safe environment for children.

    Play Materials

    Gotta keep them entertained! You'll want to offer a range of age-appropriate and safe toys at your daycare that can be easily cleaned. Pick a variety of gross/fine motor activities and cooperative play toys such as blocks.

    Most child care centres also have a dramatic play area and a reading nook/library. You'll need age-appropriate educational materials, as well as craft and art supplies for projects. If you have an outdoor area, you'll need some outdoor play equipment such as a sandbox or water table, and riding toys are always a big hit.

    Toys and books provide entertainment and educational opportunities for the children at the daycare centre. Incorporate various activities into the centre, including balls, climbing toys, games, dolls, dress-up clothes and puzzles.

    Craft supplies also work well in the daycare environment to support creative entertainment options. Outdoor play toys extend the entertainment and learning to outside areas when the weather is acceptable. Low outdoor climbing toys, small slides, playhouses and ride-on toys are common options.

    Daycare Technology

    As the daycare or child care centre owner, you'll quickly become overwhelmed with the number of administrative tasks you'll be juggling. From attendance tracking to billing your families, you'll want to put some smart systems in place to keep things running smoothly. Enter brightwheel, an easy-to-use daycare software and app that will help you manage your daycare and stay in touch with families.

    You can use brightwheel to record and track daily events and activities like naps, bottles, and diaper changes. Parents get real-time updates delivered to their mobile devices throughout the day. In addition, this powerful daycare app offers secure, digital check-in/check-out and an automated paperless billing system. This is a great way to keep your families looped in on daily activities. 


    A daycare requires several forms of paperwork before the first child is enrolled. Local and state laws dictate the licensing and permit needed to start the daycare. Ensure you understand the laws governing the specific type of daycare centre you plan to start.

    Insurance coverage and paperwork protect both the daycare and the children who attend the centre. A daycare also needs established policies, procedures and rules for handling any situation that may arise. This paperwork establishes the philosophy and operation of the centre. It gives parents an understanding of what to expect from the daycare and is essential to avoid conflicts in the future. Daycare centres should have parents fill out paperwork on each child and keep these documents on file.


    A daycare centre needs to be spacious enough to accommodate the kids comfortably. Children need to spread out, run and play throughout the day to stimulate growth and development.

    The daycare centre should have dedicated space for the kids that allows them to complete activities easily. Areas for eating, playing, and napping are essential to a daycare.

    Outdoor play areas enhance the experience for the children. The physical space of the daycare should be organised in a logical way that allows for easy movement throughout the centre.

    Record-keeping System

    A record-keeping system maintains organisation for a daycare. Well-organised records facilitate easier tax preparation. The record system allows for easy access during an inspection for licensing purposes. It also allows you to access the records quickly when parents have questions or inquiries.

    Records for a daycare centre include individual paperwork for the children in the daycare, expenses for the daycare, income received, licensing paperwork and supporting materials, attendance records and documents detailing any accidents on the premises. Create a system that works for you, incorporating a backup system to ensure no important documents are lost.

    Baby Gear


    If the daycare centre includes baby care, you need several pieces of equipment for those young children. Cribs that meet safety standards provide a secure place for the babies to sleep at the centre. A sturdy and safe changing table is needed for diaper changes. If you have a large daycare centre, more than one changing station is useful. High chairs secure the babies during feeding time.

    Baby entertainment toys that support the infant as he sits up and plays provide a stimulating environment. Large strollers that hold multiple babies or toddlers allow the teachers to transport the children to different centre areas.

    First Aid & Safety

    First-aid supplies are essential when caring for young children. Supply each room in the daycare with a fully stocked first-aid kit. This allows an injured child to receive immediate first-aid care. Supplies to keep on hand include bandages, first aid cream, medical tape, gauze, disposable gloves, cold packs, scissors, tweezers and shields for CPR breathing. Keep a first-aid reference book as well. All staff members need CPR and first-aid training to respond to an emergency properly.

    Childproofing items such as doorknob covers and locks create a safe environment at the daycare centre. Cleaners keep the centre in proper condition for the kids, but these materials need to be locked up and away from children to prevent accidents.

    Everything You Need to Start a Daycare Center

    Determine Licensing Requirements

    Every state has its own set of rules and requirements for obtaining a child care license. These rules are based on the number and ages of the children you plan to watch. In addition, all locations must meet building codes for safety.

    Still, rules might vary depending on whether you want to operate out of your home, in a separate structure on your property or at an entirely different location.

    Check with the state's department of human services or child and family services agency. You should find all the resources you need through these public departments.

    Develop a Business Plan

    Establish a detailed plan that includes start-up costs for building out your child care facility. Explain how you will keep family information and records private via all-new privacy laws. Write out daily operation procedures, including sign-in sheets, emergency plans and cleaning schedules.

    On top of your investment to provide books, toys and educational materials, elaborate on other programs your daycare centre will provide.

    Some centres provide lunch and snacks, while others charge more for food service. Determine where you'll store food and how you'll prepare it. Outline the daily schedule, from naps, storytimes and meals to free playtime. Note how many care providers you plan on hiring for the number of kids you will watch.

    Establish a Business

    You can establish the business at any time in the process, but some people wait until they have the other components in place. Name your business, and confirm it is unique by searching the secretary of state's business entity search.

    Start the Application Process

    Even if you don't have the location secure, start the application process. You will need to complete fingerprinting, background checks and health and drug screenings as part of the process. As the initial application is being processed, you can secure your location and prepare for the inspection phase of the application process.

    Secure and Modify the Location

    If you are opening a child care facility separate from your home, find a location and secure the lease. Then, regardless of whether it's an independent location or on your property, start the facility's build-out. Include an office for private records and meetings and private bathrooms and changing rooms to accommodate children and staff.

    Make sure you have permits for any construction, electrical and plumbing work. Do everything to code so you can pass inspections when the application process is at that phase.

    Screen and Hire Staff

    Find staff and conduct background and health screenings on all working at the child care facility. At a minimum, states require those working with children to have a tuberculosis test annually. In addition, some states require proof of vaccinations as well as periodic updates on certain immunisations.

    Market to Families

    Once you have approval, start marketing your services to families—advertising in local papers and parent publications and developing relationships with local pediatricians and doulas. Providing excellent service to child care families often leads to referrals.

    No matter the size of your child care center, these six equipment choices are essential for success.
    • Child Care Cribs and Mattresses. ...
    • Multi-Child Daycare Strollers. ...
    • Daycare Storage Units. ...
    • Children's Cots. ...
    • Toddler Step Stools. ...
    • Child Care Feeding Chairs.

    Childcare Workers use a variety of tools in the course of their work including cars, car safety seats, computers, and word processing software. They may also use appliances, such as microwaves, dishwashers, kitchen stoves, and clothes washers and dryers.

    Owners of daycare centers profit an average of $37,000 per year. While some owners of daycare centers report earning over $60,000 profit per year, the other side of the spectrum reported hauling in less than $20,000 profit.

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