"Safe and secure"these hand-in-glove words often are a key part of the marketing plan for childcare facilities. The assurance that his or her child will be cared for in a safe and secure environment may be one of the main reasons a parent decides to use a particular childcare provider. New technologies offer the ability to monitor your facility and staff, and parents of children in your childcare program can access live streaming video over the Internet.
Childcare Internet monitoring services have grown in popularity within the last few years. Initially, a strategically placed camera was used to capture an image of a particular area every 30 seconds. The image was then sent to a website where parents could download snapshots of their children from any computer with Internet access. New technologies have made it possible to view live streaming video from multiple cameras with up to 100 simultaneous viewers.
There are many advantages to enabling 24-hour visual access to the childcare center for both parents and caregivers, and improvements in the technology that enables such services are making it easier every day. This article, looks at the opportunities such services afford with respect to safety and security issues that childcare centers face in everyday operation.
One of the most valuable roles an Internet monitoring service can play involves the increased availability to effectively communicate with the parents of the children in your care. The development of an informative and current website as well as the ability for parents to actually see their child from your website share mutually supportive functions for your facility. By having a website that people can visit frequently to view their children can serve as instantaneous method of notifying parents of closings or emergency situations that may arise because of weather or other unforeseen occurrences. Email can be sent to an entire group of parents simultaneously, allowing your staff to concentrate on contacting those parents who are not online or have not replied.
The value of being able to communicate with your clients via email or an emergency posting to your website cannot be overemphasized. For example, if a child falls off of a swing and scrapes his knee, his mother can be immediately contacted and comfortably reassured by seeing him waving at the camera saying he is okay and for her not to worry. In a more severe circumstance where a professional healthcare member may be involved, evaluation of an accident and the scene may offer timely information towards an effective treatment.
In other less acute situations such as a child who may have or may be recovering from a temporary illness, the parent or the facility's consulting physician may be called upon for assistance. Parents of children with special needs also may participate more closely in the education of your staff members with respect to the individual's special needs or protocols. In most all instances, parents may enjoy participating in the care and development of their children.
Another advantage of having an Internet monitoring service pertains to the training of new staff members. A few moments in front of a monitor may be all that is needed to demonstrate to a new employee how your state's regulations and your own procedures are applied. For example, you can illustrate the need for toys to be placed in their box and not in front of a door, or show that a caregiver must be within a specified distance of a certain number of children. Some Internet monitoring services will conduct an in-house safety training session and help you record training videos or demonstration CDs that your employees can view on a regular basis. Keeping a log of your employee training program may be a very powerful legal resource.
Having the ability to view your facility after working hours is just as important as when it is full of playing children. Your insurance company may think so too. Many underwriters may offer a substantial discount for facilities that protect their property with video surveillance systems. An additional advantage to using an Internet monitoring service is that you not only can log in and see your facility whenever you want to, but a system also can be set up to detect motion and alert you by sending the images to a remote site on the Internet or directly to your home email. Since the images are sent immediately to a remote site, intruders cannot "get rid of the evidence" by removing a tape from a VCR on the premises. Insurance companies are openly embracing this method of surveillance, and are likely to offer the largest discounts for this type of system.
Consider some other benefits of being able to monitor and record video from your facility. Your housekeeping team may be less likely to behave unprofessionally or perhaps inadvertently leave a dangerous cleaning solutions within reach of early-arriving children if they know their work is being monitored. Being able to remotely monitor and record events can provide valuable documentation that your staff members have done their job correctly should any legal concerns arise. Also, owners of a multiple facilities are never more than a few clicks of a mouse away from making sure that the children, their staff, and their reputation are legally protected.
If you recall the age-old adage that a "picture paints a thousand words," it stands to reason that live video monitoring of your facility viewed over the Internet can be very to parents and facility owners alike. When you describe to families who are considering using your services that you have taken every precaution to assure their child's safety and security, you can now actually show them that you mean it!
By Dr. Robert Weston, DDS
Founder and CEO of Sweetpeeks.com
Dr Robert Weston is a retired Dentist and the founder and CEO of Sweetpeeks.com, a childcare Internet monitoring service company. For more information concerning childcare monitoring services, contact DrWeston@Sweetpeeks.com or subscribe to his free newsletter at Sweetpeeksnews@getresponse.com
Parent Watch: www.parentwatch.com
Toddler Watch: toddlerwatch.com
Your Child At Play: www.yourchildatplay.com
Watch Me Grow: www.watch-me.com