Press Releases

Children’s Deaths in Child Care Can Be Prevented

July 29, 2012

Child Care Aware® of America calls for uniform reporting of child care deaths, minimum training for child care providers, and effective monitoring by states

ARLINGTON, VA-- No one knows exactly how many children die in child care settings every year.

A Child Care Aware® of America research paper, Why Aren’t We Outraged? Children Dying in Child Care Across America          , released today, found that child care licensing agencies in only 38 states require child fatalities in licensed child care settings be reported to the licensing agency. Twelve states do not require reporting of children’s deaths in child care centers and 11 states do not require the reporting of children’s deaths in family child care homes.

Among states that do require reporting, the information gathered varies greatly. Some states do not have a formal reporting process or even a form that must be completed as part of the report. How the information is used varies as well.

“While many children are safe in child care, it is alarming to learn about tragic deaths or near fatalities of children in child care throughout the country,” said Ollie M. Smith, Interim Executive Director of Child Care Aware® of America. “In many cases, these tragedies can be prevented.”

Nearly 11 million children under age 5 in the United States are in some type of child care arrangement every week. On average, the children of working mothers spend 35 hours a week in child care.

The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the law that allocates funds to the states for child care and sets the framework for state child care laws, does not require the reporting of child fatalities in child care settings. 

“Collecting data is not meant to sensationalize these tragedies in any way. Rather, the data would help inform policymakers and state administrators so that minimum protections for children can be strengthened, such as requiring basic safety and training that could prevent such tragedies from occurring,” said Smith.

Child Care Aware® of America calls for all child deaths in child care settings to be reported to state licensing offices and state child care administrators’ offices within 48 hours of their occurrence and that the data be aggregated and sent to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on an annual basis.

“It’s just common sense,” said Smith. “Children should be safe in child care. If we can collect information to better promote their safety, we should. We hope that this paper is a wake-up call to Congress. As the Child Care and Development Block Grant is reauthorized, let’s collect the data that will help prevent tragedies and ensure that effective health and safety, training, and monitoring is part of the law.”

Child Care Aware® of America (formerly NACCRRA, the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies), is our nation's leading voice for child care. We work with more than 600 state and local Child Care Resource and Referral agencies to ensure that all families have access to quality, affordable child care. To achieve our mission, we lead projects that increase the quality and availability of child care professionals, undertake research, and advocate child care policies that positively impact the lives of children and families. To learn more about Child Care Aware® of America and how you can join us in ensuring access to quality child care for all families, visit us at