Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 6: Play Areas/Playgrounds and Transportation

6.5 Transportation

6.5.2 Transportation Safety Drop-Off and Pick-Up

Content in the STANDARD was modified on 05/17/2016.

COVID-19 modification as of May 21, 2021

After reading the CFOC standard, see COVID-19 modification below (Also consult applicable state licensure and public health requirements).

The facility should have, and communicate to staff and parents/guardians, a plan for safe, supervised drop-off and pick-up points and pedestrian crosswalks in the vicinity of the facility. The plan should require drop off and pick up only at the curb or at an off-street location protected from traffic. The facility should assure that any adult who supervises drop-off and loading can see and assure that children are clear of the perimeter of all vehicles before any vehicle moves. The staff will keep an accurate attendance and time record of all children picked up and dropped off. The facility should assure that a staff member or adult parent/guardian is observing the process of dropping off and picking up children. The adult who is supervising the child should be required to stay with each child until the responsibility for that child has been accepted by the individual designated in advance to care for that child. Vehicles should not be allowed to idle in the facility's designated parking areas at any time, including during drop-off and pick-up. Child care settings should have an anti-idling policy and parents/guardians should be made aware and regularly reminded of the policy (1). 

COVID-19 modification as of May 21, 2021

In response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 Guidance for Operating Early Care and Education/Child Care Programs, it is recommended that early childhood programs:

  • Modify drop-off and pick-up procedures.
  • Schedule children in the same cohort to arrive together.
  • Assign staff for each cohort to welcome and screen them upon arrival.
  • Stagger drop-off and pick-up times to limit direct contact with parents, and prevent children and families from crowding together.
  • Remind staff and families to adhere to current masking and physical distancing recommendations. 


  • Plan drop-off and pick-up outside the facility. 
    • Curbside drop-off and pick-up should limit direct contact between families and staff members.
    • If drop-off and pick-up cannot take place outside the facility, ask families to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer and to wear well-fitted masks. 
  • Encourage drop-off and pick-up by a consistent family member.
  • Provide hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol next to sign in/out sheets. Keep hand sanitizer out of the reach of children. 
  • Have a supply of masks available at the entrance for children and families that do not have them.
  • Limit staff who welcome and screen children at drop-off.
  • Encourage families to be alert to signs of illness in their children and to keep them home when they are sick.
  • Refer to the COVID-19 modifications in:

Additional Resources:

Caring for Our Children Standards:

American Academy of Pediatrics. Guidance Related to Childcare During COVID-19

Food and Drug Administration. Is Your Hand Sanitizer on FDA’s List of Products You Should Not Use?

Injuries and fatalities have occurred during the loading and unloading process, especially in situations where vans or school buses are used to transport children. Increased supervision and interactions between adults and children promotes safety and helps children learn to be aware of their surroundings. Idling vehicles contribute to air pollution and emit air toxins, which are pollutants known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious health effects (1). 
The staff should examine the parking area and determine the safest way to drop off and pick up children (1). Plans for loading and unloading should be discussed and demonstrated with the children, families, caregivers/teachers, and drivers.
Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Transportation Policy for Centers and Large Family Homes Transportation Policy for Small Family Child Care Homes
  1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 2016. Idle free schools.
  2. U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). 2003. The child care center design guide. New York: GSA.

Content in the STANDARD was modified on 05/17/2016.

COVID-19 modification as of May 21, 2021