Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 5: Facilities, Supplies, Equipment, and Environmental Health

5.1 Overall Requirements

5.1.1 General Location, Layout and Construction of the Facility Separation of Operations from Child Care Areas

Rooms or spaces that are used for the following activities or operations should be separated from the child care areas and the egress route should not pass through such spaces:

  1. Commercial-type kitchen;
  2. Boiler, maintenance shop;
  3. Janitor closet and storage areas for cleaning products, pesticides, and other chemicals;
  4. Laundry and laundering supplies;
  5. Woodworking shop;
  6. Flammable or combustible storage;
  7. Painting operation;
  8. Rooms that are used for any purpose involving the presence of toxic substances;
  9. Area for medication storage.

Areas that have combustibles should be protected by fire-resistant barriers. The egress route and the fire-resistant separation should be approved by the appropriate regulatory agencies responsible for building and fire inspections. In small and large family child care homes, a fire-resistant separation should not be required where the food preparation kitchen contains only a domestic cooking range and the preparation of food does not result in smoke or grease-laden vapors escaping into indoor areas. Where separation is provided between the egress route and the hazardous area, it should be safe to use such route, but egress should not require passage through the hazardous area.

Hazards and toxic substances must be kept separate in a locked closet or room from space used for child care to prevent children’s and staff members’ exposure to injury (1).

Cleaning agents must be inaccessible to children (out of reach and behind locked doors). Food preparation surfaces must be separate from diaper changing areas including sinks for handwashing. Children must be restricted from access to the stove when cooking surfaces are hot.

In small family child care homes, mixed use of rooms is common (2). Some combined use of space for food preparation, storage of cleaning equipment and household tools, laundry, and diaper changing requires that each space within a room be defined according to its purpose and that exposure of children to hazards be controlled. Food preparation should be separate from all exposure to possible cross-contamination.
Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
  1. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). 2009. NFPA 101: Life Safety Code. 2009 ed. Quincy, MA: NFPA.
  2. Olds, A. R. 2001. Child care design guide. New York: McGraw-Hill.