Is your day care safe?

As the safety of day care comes into question following the horrific events at Sandy Hook Elementary School last week, officials with the State Department of Education what to put your mind at ease.

In 2012 inspectors flagged 43 child care providers in our area for safety/security issues, but those inspectors don't want you to get the wrong idea.

Officials that monitor day care facilities and providers want you to know that inspections happen regularly and that most things found are minor. In fact, those 43 "issues" were from 6,956 inspections. Only 0.6 percent of providers/centers were flagged.

When asked how many inspections reveal serious issues in a child care facility, Maryland State Department of Education media relations director Bill Reinhard said, "almost none of them."

About a year ago the state began making results from inspections available on the Internet. Reinhard says the inspections are run much like restaurant inspections and should be viewed more positively.

For example,the database may show a provider was flagged for child security, but the issue could have been as simple as a parent seen at the center each day not signing a sheet to something more severe like a child being lost.

More often, Reinhard says, the latter is not the case.

"There are easier things to do to make money…" he says. "They might have had a cover off an outlet missing for maybe for a day, mostly very minor things."

To put things to comparison, there's an average of about 1.9 million car accidents in the United States each year (according to computational knowledge engine WolframAlpha). According to trends, more than 43,000 of those reported accidents each year are fatal. That's a 4.3 percent chance that you could be involved in a fatal car accident compared to a 0.6 percent chance that your child's day care has a safety/security issue -- which in most cases, according to officials, will be minor.

"It's been very, very effective," Reinhard said. "These are caring individuals who would do anything for the children under their care."

For more information on local day care providers, regulations and inspections, click here .

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