Do you know what security measures are in place to keep children at daycare safe? - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Do you know what security measures are in place to keep children at daycare safe?

By Georgi Bragg
WAFF 48 News Reporter


If your children go to daycare, do you know what security measures are in place to keep them safe? It might come as a surprise to you, it did for WAFF 48 News. 

Requirements for security at daycares vary from state to state and in Alabama daycare doors don't have to be locked.

When we started asking questions, even DHR workers were surprised at the regulations in place.

"That's one the first things I looked at when I sent my kids here," said Stephanie Buhler.

Safety tops the list when Buhler leaves her kids at daycare.

Her best friend's three-year-old taught her to be particularly cautious about the exterior doors at daycares. 

"She got out of a side door and walked all the way around the building," Buhler explains.

Alabama's DHR standards require outside doors be kept closed, but the state does not require doors be locked.

"I can see where it's good and bad," said another local parent.

DHR says they don't require locks on exterior doors because of Alabama's fire code. Section 36-19-10 says exits shall be unlocked during school hours.

Parents and school leaders are caught in the conflict. 

"We've got two agencies working against each other here," says Brenda Tackett,  owner of a  Montessori School in Huntsville, where the exterior doors are magnetized, keeping kids in and others out. 

"In case of an emergency like a fire breaks out and we have to pull the fire alarm, this system will disengage," Tackett explained.

We checked doors at daycares selected randomly from the yellow pages.

Of the six schools we checked, only one door was actually open.

The director didn't want to appear on camera, but told us the magnetic device on the door was broken. 

"For the big schools out there, I am concerned that they're able to leave the doors open. I think you need to have agencies come together and meet and find some type of happy medium," said Tackett.

Carol Putman agrees. She is director of one of those "larger daycares."

"We feel that children are God's gifts and we have a very grave responsibility to see to their safety," said Putman.

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