The Department of Human Services has adopted safe sleep provisions into its administrative rules, further strengthening its responsibility to keep infants safe in regulated child care settings. These amendments codify the department’s decade-long commitment to ensuring all licensed and registered child care providers follow safe sleep best practices. The rule went into effect on Friday, February 24, 2017.
“This department is committed to the health and safety of Hawai‘i’s children. These rules embody our commitment by making explicit our department’s practice of requiring licensed and registered child care providers to use safe sleep best practices. We believe these rules are the natural evolution of our dedication to safe sleep practices in licensing child care providers,” said DHS Director Pankaj Bhanot.
This act of codifying DHS practices responds to community concerns and reinforces that the department values safe sleep practices in all child care settings.
DHS has prioritized safe sleep practices since 2005 when the department began including them as part of the child care licensing protocol. The national Safe Sleep campaign began targeting child care settings just a few years prior.
DHS licenses various child care settings, including family care homes, group child care centers and homes, before- and after-school programs, and infant and toddler child care centers. The department’s Child Care Licensing staff conduct initial, annual and biennial monitoring visits at each home and facility to ensure providers are compliant with laws, regulations and best practices. Since 2005, licensing workers have educated providers about the importance of safe sleep practices and verified their compliance.
These protocols contributed to zero child fatalities in licensed and registered child care settings in 2016.