Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Janet E. Ordway, MD (Maine Department of Behavioral & Developmental Services)
Description: Reviewed by over 100 organizations and led by a steering committee with representatives of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association, Department of Health Resources and Services Administration: Maternal and Child Health Bureau, and National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care, 10 technical panels covered major topics in day care such as children with special needs, environmental quality, infectious diseases, injury prevention, nutrition, and prevention and management of child abuse. It was felt that this new edition was needed because the first edition was published in 1992 and there have been many new developments since that time. This information is also available on the Internet.
Purpose: The book is large, over 500 pages, and it covers the rules, regulations, and recommendations for proper day care. There are nine major divisions on various subjects such as staffing requirements, activities, healthy development, nutrition, licensing, and equipment, and each division has a large bibliography which has been updated from the first edition. Each topic is divided into sections with bold print headings, making it user friendly. Each section gives rationale and comments with reference to the pertinent bibliography. There is a very complete appendix, a large index, a section on definitions, plus other features such as forms for reporting.
Audience: This resource will be useful for anyone involved with day care. It gives recommended class sizes, how to handle children with infections, what to do in emergencies and different rules for small and large day care centers. This book could also be helpful for parents as they search for a good day care program. Pediatricians would find it helpful in advising parents about what makes a good day care program, especially since it has been found that only 10 percent of day care programs meet these needs.
Features: This is not the type of book that one reads from cover to cover; it is strictly a reference book. It makes very clear what today's standards are with regard to good day care programs, but one can find out very quickly if the day care programs are meeting the requirements for these centers. It is very complete.
Assessment: The book is well organized, has an extensive bibliography at the end of each division, and a large appendix, glossary, and index. There is also a section on contacting organizations and licensing. Although the emotional needs of children are included in various parts of the book, there should be a separate section on the mental health needs of the children before school age. There are many day care centers that are not meeting these children's emotional needs. A separate section would highlight the importance of helping these children with their emotional growth. Such things as high staff turnover, low staff-to-child ratios, poor staff pay, and poor training mitigate against children's healthy emotional growth. These early years are very important to growing up in a healthy way.