While safety can’t be overstated, installing cameras in your daycare can cause plenty of confusion and even some deep questioning.
It isn’t an easy choice to make. As an owner, your first priority is keeping the kids safe and happy. And installing cameras in your daycare can help with that, or be a hit to your daycare’s satisfaction level.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most important questions regarding security and web cameras, as well as weigh the pros and cons to help you make the right decision for your daycare.
Safety and misbehaving staff
One of the most common arguments in favor of installing daycare cameras is that they guarantee more safety for the kids and require staff to observe the rules closely.
However, this is a double-edged sword, as installing cameras in your daycare doesn’t guarantee total coverage. Every camera has a blind spot and while staff do tend to be more careful when they know they are being monitored, cameras don’t exclude the possibility of breaking the rules.
When it comes to installing cameras in your daycare for safety purposes, the best systems are those that are closed-circuit (CCTV), can be accessed by only one user, and aren’t connected to the internet.
Depending on your daycare, you may have many access points and keeping an eye on them (as well as installing extra security measures) is a must. Cameras placed around exits help you make sure that the only people in your daycare are the ones who are supposed to be there.
As with everything, camera coverage (or the lack of it) can depend on what fits your daycare best. Many daycares today have cameras for security purposes only, with no audio recording, and delete the footage at the end of the day. Others opt for all cameras everywhere approach, and record-keeping.
Check your state and federal rules. Cameras should never be placed in bathrooms, and if you want to record audio, you might need to get special permissions.
Technology advanced rapidly and there are more and more companies offering software that allows daycares to livestream kiddos’ days for the parents.
This is very practical for parents as they can check up on their kid all the time, but things can get tricky for owners and caregivers.
Daycare owners who have installed cameras and allowed parents to access the video feeds have noticed that some parents watch too closely and call whenever something minor happens, like a child dropping their pacifier.
This obviously disturbs the regular day-to-day of a daycare, as installing cameras in your daycare and giving parents access means including them in the process of caregiving.
No two kids are the same, and neither are their parents, so you can have parents grateful for the opportunity to see their tyke in action while simultaneously dealing with parents who think that not changing a kid’s diaper in two seconds is a crime.
This is understandable, but it can be very distracting for owners and managers who suddenly have a phone ringing all the time and less time on their hands.
What’s more, since daycare cameras typically don’t transmit sound, parents who have just tuned in to watch don’t have context. For example, a caregiver may be reprimanding a child appropriately while the parents watching the feed think something bad is happening.
This can also subconsciously make caregivers modify their behavior to what the parents want to see, and not what the child needs, since they can be monitored any second.
On the bright side, parents should come from a place of trust and research when selecting a daycare, so installing cameras in your daycare and allowing them to watch their child can create a sense of participation and satisfaction.
If the worst happens
As much as we’d all like to just take care of kids, the truth is that working in childcare is much more complex than that.
Installing cameras in your daycare means better security and even conflict resolution when it comes to unreasonable parents. There are cases of parents who claimed to have paid the tuition and were proven wrong by daycare security footage.
Similarly, if there is an accusation of the daycare center, you can use the footage to prove what happened. Keep in mind that you cannot choose whether you will hand over the footage – if you have cameras, you must allow state inspectors to review them.
It also means paying more attention to tech security, and even bringing in experts to keep an eye on everything for you. Data leakage is always a concern, especially with children. If you do opt for cameras connected to Wi-Fi, get expert opinion on what you can do to keep the security top-notch.
If your budget is a problem, you can take a look at how Hopping In can help you earn more by filling your daycare’s unused spots.
While they are not common, be aware that any sort of hacking and misuse (accidental or otherwise) can result in severe consequences for you as the owner.
Installing cameras in your daycare can be pretty costly, depending on the size of your facility and type of the camera.
However, if the pros outweigh the cons for you, getting quality cameras is worth the cost. This acquisition may require planning well in advance, and making sure that your daycare is running at full capacity with no empty slots before you can afford it, which Hopping In can help you with.
If you do opt for installing cameras in your daycare, make sure you double-check the state and federal requirements and restrict user permissions. Parents may want to share their password with grandparents and cousins, but that is a breach of other children’s privacy. In this case, you can add a clause to the contract that prohibits them from doing so.
If you decide not to install cameras in your daycare but are still concerned about security, you can research other ways of improving security in your daycare.
To install or not to install?
Ultimately, it comes down to your needs.
Installing cameras in your daycare is no small feat and it can have consequences in the future – positive or negative.
As with everything, do your research and communicate. This decision affects everyone: parents, kids, staff, and you.
Before making the best choice for your daycare, make sure you are all on the same page on how the decision can help the kids be even happier.
Author: Hopping In Blog
Sholom Strick is an expert on the business of running daycare centers and founder of Hopping In, a tool that helps childcare centers and family daycare providers fill unused spots.
To contact him or for media inquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org