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 Buildings of Wood Frame Construction

Infants and toddlers should be housed and cared for only on the ground floor in buildings of wood frame construction. Preschool-age and school-age children should be able to use floors other than the ground floor in a building of wood construction if the building has required exits and care is provided in:

  1. A daylight-lit basement with exits that are no more than a half flight high;
  2. A tri-level facility with half flights of stairs;
  3. A facility that is protected throughout by an automatic sprinkler system, which has its exit stairs enclosed by minimum one-hour fire barriers with openings in those barriers protected by minimum one-hour fire doors;
  4. Any door encountered along the egress route should be easy for caregivers/teachers and older preschool-age children to open.
Fire and building safety experts recommend that children be permitted above ground level only in buildings of wood construction with certain exceptions (1).
Infants and toddlers should always be on the main floor with access directly to the outdoors. Doors along the egress route need to be easy to open. Consult local or state fire safety codes and child care licensing laws for restrictions on floor occupancy by age groups.
Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Use of Basements and Below Grade Areas
  1. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). 2009. NFPA 101: Life Safety Code. 2009 ed. Quincy, MA: NFPA.