Main content

    Health Information

    Child Care Providers: Safe Child-Staff Ratio and Group Size

    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


    13 to 35 months

    4 to 1


    3 years

    7 to 1


    4 years

    8 to 1


    5 years

    8 to 1


    6 to 8 years

    10 to 1


    9 to 12 years

    12 to 1


    Related Information



    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.


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

    Last Revised: October 9, 2013

    This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

    1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.