Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

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

5.1 Overall Requirements

5.1.4 Exits Path of Egress (Exit)

Content in the STANDARD was modified on 01/23/2020.

The minimum width of any path of egress (exit) should be 36 inches. An exception is that doors should provide a minimum clear width of 32 inches.1 The width of doors should accommodate wheelchairs and the needs of individuals with physical disabilities.

Where exits to the outside are not immediately accessible from an open floor, safe and continuous passageways, aisles, or corridors leading to every exit should be maintained. These paths should be arranged to provide access to 2 exits for each occupant by separate ways of travel.2 Doorways, exit paths, passageways, corridors, and exits should be non-sloping and slip resistant and kept free of materials, furniture, equipment, and debris to allow unobstructed departure from inside the early care and education facility to the outside. Early care and education programs that are housed within a basement or are using basement space should consider exit paths using appropriate egress windows.1 Early care and education programs should plan for special accommodations in which adults, infants, and children may need additional assistance during an evacuation (eg, those who use wheelchairs, exit cribs).


A path of egress (exit) is an unobstructed route for evacuation that allows people to leave or depart buildings, structures, and spaces.3 The hallways and door openings must be wide enough to permit easy exit in an emergency. The exit within an early care and education program can be an enclosed staircase or the actual door leading to the outside; doors from most rooms and the travel along a corridor are considered exit access or the path of egress. The National Fire Protection Association NFPA 101B: Code for Means of Egress for Buildings and Structures requires a clear opening of 32 inches for doors.1 This is consistent with Americans With Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines, as it affords enough width for a person in a wheelchair to maneuver through the door opening.4

Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Labeled Emergency Exits Access to and Awareness of Exits Construction and Remodeling
  1. National Fire Protection Association. NFPA 101B: Code for Means of Egress for Buildings and Structures. Published 2002. Accessed August 21, 2019

  2. US Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Emergency exit routes. Published March 2018. Accessed August 21, 2019

  3. US Access Board. US Access Board technical guide: accessible means of egress. Published July 2015. Accessed August 21, 2019

  4. US Access Board. ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG). Amended September 2002. Accessed August 21, 2019


Content in the STANDARD was modified on 01/23/2020.