Many families choose informal or unregulated child care options because they are more convenient or affordable, or because the caregiver is a trusted friend or relative. This could include babysitters, nannies, neighbors, grandparents or other relatives who care for a child.  The State of NC does not regulate or license child care arrangements in which all the children are related to the caregiver, only two children are in care, or the care is occasional. (Read more about regulation of child care in NC.)

Even when you know the caregiver well, we suggest using the questions below to evaluate the child care environment. You can even use these questions to work together with your child care provider to make improvements to the child care environment.

Informal Care Checklist

  • Does the caregiver stay close enough to respond to child’s needs at all times, even when the child is sleeping?
  • Does the caregiver allow the parents to visit at any time while the child is there?
  • Does the caregiver care for no more than 5 preschool aged children (below the age of five)?
  • Does the caregiver engage the child in conversation, not just commands?
  • Does the caregiver have access to emergency contact numbers?
  • Does the home have a working smoke detector?
  • Are medicines kept out of reach of children?
  • Are cleaning supplies kept out of reach of children?
  • Are there toys and books available that are appropriate for the age of the child?
  • Does the caregiver read to the child and/or encourage the child to read on his/her own?
  • Does the caregiver take the child outside often, weather permitting?
  • Does the caregiver place limits on TV and video game time?
  • Does the caregiver wash his/her hands after diapering, using the bathroom, and before preparing/serving food?
  • Does the caregiver ensure the child washes his/her hands after toileting, sneezing, blowing their nose, and before eating?
  • Does the caregiver stay in close proximity/ in the same room of the child while the child is eating?
  • Is the child fed age-appropriate healthy foods?
  • Does the caregiver limit sugary snacks and drinks?
  • If the child has food allergies, is there a list posted in a place for all adults to see?
  • Does the caregiver hold babies while being bottle-fed?
  • Does the caregiver place babies (under 1 year) on their backs to sleep?