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Child Care Providers: Safe Child-Staff Ratio and Group Size

Topic Overview

The number of children per adult care provider and the total group size are two important factors that indicate the quality and safety of a child care setting. The recommended guidelines for these factors vary by the child's age, the type and size of the child care center, and other aspects. For example, recommendations for group child care centers are shown below:1

Safe child-staff ratio and group size for group child care

Children's ages

Maximum child-to-staff ratio

Maximum group size

12 months or younger

3 to 1

6

13 to 35 months

4 to 1

8

3 years

7 to 1

14

4 years

8 to 1

16

5 years

8 to 1

16

6 to 8 years

10 to 1

20

9 to 12 years

12 to 1

24

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. American Academy of Pediatrics, et al. (2002). Caring for Our Children—National Health and Safety Standards: Guidelines for Out-of-Home Child Care Programs, 2nd ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Last Revised September 14, 2012

Last Revised: September 14, 2012

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