The current FCC Licensing Rule requires that infants must go outside at least once daily. Children over the age of 12 months in attendance for more than four hours shall have a minimum of 60 minutes outdoors daily. Both requirements are barring weather that presents a risk to children in accordance with Child Care Weather Watch and the Air Quality Index.
I will monitor the local air quality index as reported by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, which is accessed at: https://www.airnow.gov/. If the air quality index is “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” (USG) or higher, children will be kept indoors.
Infants and toddlers are often unable to tell the child care provider if they are too hot or cold, so close monitoring is required in more challenging weather and air quality conditions.
Gross motor activity will be substituted for outdoor time when weather does not permit outdoor time.
Tips to make outside play healthy and safe for children:
- Remind children to drink the provided water while playing outside
- Apply sunscreen and bug spray as needed and agreed to as part of the Care Agreement.
- Children need a firm approach to wearing proper clothing for the weather (ie: may want to play without hats or mittens in the cold).
- Dress infants/toddlers in lightweight cotton or cotton-like fabrics during the warmer months.
- In cooler or cold months dress infants in layers to keep them warm.
- Protect infants from the sun by limiting the amount of time outdoors and playing in shaded areas.
- Watch for children that become fussy while outside as that may be an indication that they are uncomfortable with the weather.
Planning for outside time means weather safety is part of a child care provider’s daily routine. Changes in weather require continual monitoring to ensure the health and safety of the children.
I will monitor the local weather and follow the recommendations of the Department’s Child Care Weather Watch, which is accessed at: https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/ocfs/childrens-licensing-and-investigation/documents/WeatherWatch.pdf
Condition GREEN – Children may play outdoors and be comfortable. Watch for signs of children becoming uncomfortable while playing. Use precautions regarding clothing. sunscreen, and beverages for all child age groups.
Condition YELLOW – use caution, shorten the length of outdoor time and closely observe the children for signs of being too hot or cold.
Condition RED – most children should not play outdoors due to the health risk.
Current and expected air quality concentrations for the upcoming 24 hours are found at Online Air Quality Daily Forecast for Maine. Air quality forecasts are scheduled to be updated by 3:00 pm weekdays and other times as necessary. Forecasts are also available on the Bureau’s Air Quality Hotline at (800) 223-1196.
** Online Air Quality Daily Forecast for Maine Current and expected air quality concentrations for the upcoming 24 hours. Air quality forecasts are scheduled to be updated by 3:00 pm weekdays and other times as necessary. Forecasts are also available on the Bureau’s Air Quality Hotline at (800) 223-1196.