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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 age. A report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests the following standards:1

Safe child-staff ratio and group size
Age Staff-to-child ratio Maximum group size

Newborn–24 months

1:3

6

25–30 months

1:4

8

31–35 months

1:5

10

3 years

1:7

14

4–5 years

1:8

16

6–8 years

1:10

20

9–12 years

1:12

24

When infants or toddlers are included in mixed age groups, the staff-to-child ratios and group size guidelines for the youngest child should be followed. Mixed age groups that do not include infants or toddlers should follow guidelines that reflect the most common age.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2002). 13 Indicators of Quality Child Care: Research Update. Available online: http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/ccquality-ind02.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical ReviewerSusan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Last RevisedSeptember 23, 2010

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