Fences are useful to many businesses – for privacy, security and aesthetic purposes. But for some business endeavors, they’re absolutely essential, and regulated by law. Folks operating childcare facilities know that the list of licensing requirements is a mile long, and for good reason. Fences are one of many areas covered by regulations.
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re leasing a space for a childcare facility, or adapting your own home to the task.
In Texas, if you have an outdoor activity space for kids under five years old, you’ll need a fence that’s at least four feet high. A few exceptions apply, including if you’re running an after school program in a public school or if you’re only licensed to provide a get-well care program.
You can keep the gates to your outdoor activity space locked while children are in your care. But all employees must be able to open the lock. Caregivers must carry keys at all times or know the codes, depending on the type of lock. Licensing may drop by unexpectedly, and this will be one of the things they’ll be checking.
Fenced outdoor activity spaces require at least two exits. This can include an entrance into your building. The other exit is probably what we at Buzz call a gate.
Okay, most child care facilities don’t have pools. This is daycare, not the Ritz. But just in case there is some type of pool on the premises, a whole set of rules govern pool fences and gates. These include that there must be a durable, impenetrable barrier at least four feet high, and a gate with self-closing and self-latching hardware situated above a child’s reach. The law also says that having a fence does not negate childcare workers’ duty to supervise children’s pool access. And if you were wondering about that, let us know so we can find a new daycare for our kids.
Materials make a big difference when planning your childcare center fencing. For example, some fences are easier to climb than others. Parents depend on childcare providers to make it hard for rascally children to escape. That means using materials like vinyl privacy fencing or wood with vertical pickets. If you choose chain link, use mesh of less than 26 mm, which is too small for even little feet to get a foothold.
Be careful about harmful interior aspects of fences, such as solid posts a child can run into. Put these on the exterior instead. And beware of any sharp edges or wires.
Ornamental aluminum and iron are pretty, but can trap small heads. Make sure the bars are less than three inches apart.
Child Safety and Common Sense
Just because there’s a fence, it doesn’t mean children are safe. Kids still need supervision. Make sure they have fun things to do in the yard to occupy them, rather than trying to climb over or tunnel under the fence.
At Buzz, we’re happy to design and build a fence that’s safe, attractive and expertly suited to your needs. Give us a call today.