Survey: ‘Sketchy’ location No. 1 deal-breaker in child care search

WASHINGTON — Two out of three parents say it’s a struggle to find child care they feel is up to snuff when it comes to health and safety standards, and those concerns are the biggest deal-breakers for most parents choosing a facility.

That’s according to the new nationwide poll of parents conducted by the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan.

About 62 percent of a parents said they find it difficult to find child care options that meet their safety standards, and only half of parents said they’re confident they can tell if a facility was actually safe.

Among the biggest deal-breakers cited by survey respondents?

“Seventy percent of parents said it would be a deal-breaker if the location of the facility was in a ‘sketchy’ area or somewhere that just didn’t seem safe,” Sarah Clark, the poll’s co-director, told CBS News.

About 56 percent of respondents said they would not consider a facility with guns on the premise and nearly half — 48 percent — said they would find the presence of adults who aren’t staff members unacceptable in a child care setting.

About 40 percent of parents said they would not consider a facility that allowed unvaccinated children to attend.

What parents prioritize differs depending on the type of facility they’re considering.

For parents seeking child care centers and preschools, the No. 1 factor was safety, according to the survey. That includes whether staff members undergo background checks and whether the front entrance is locked and secured.

Parents looking for in-home child care prioritize healthy food and clean kitchens first, followed by the availability of books and educational toys.

Overall, nine out of 10 parents said they thought in-home child care centers should have the same health and safety standards as other child care facilities.

The survey includes responses from a nationally representative sample of 307 parents who had at least one child between the ages of 1 and 5.

Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at, part of Government Executive Media Group.

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