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

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

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    Topic Overview

    The number of children per adult care provider is one thing that reflects the quality and safety of a child care setting. Total group size also matters. The guidelines for these factors vary by the child's age. They also vary by the type and size of the child care center.

    The guidelines for group child care centers are shown in the table. footnote 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.


    ByHealthwise Staff
    Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
    Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine

    Current as ofJuly 26, 2016

    Current as of: July 26, 2016

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