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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. (2011). Staffing. In Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards—Guidelines for Early Care and Education Programs, 3rd ed., pp. 2–45. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Last Revised October 9, 2013

Last Revised: October 9, 2013

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