How Do I Find a Safe Daycare Near Me?

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Licensed, safe daycares are easy to find on Childcare.gov, but we like how Care.com and Sittercity help parents run background checks too. If you can’t find a daycare near you with openings on those sites, check out our other recommendations.


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1. Childcare.gov

The Childcare.gov search portal will redirect you to your state’s childcare database, where it’s easy to find licensed facilities and providers. 

If your state lists enrollment information or openings, take it with a grain of salt—it’s difficult to know how often these databases are maintained unless explicitly stated. Contact any daycare that catches your eye to confirm availability.

2. Care.com or Sittercity

Care.com and Sittercity work in similar ways: Instead of browsing a list of daycares near you, you’ll fill out some basic information and wait for interested daycares to make contact. 

Both websites require a premium membership fee to message caregivers—up to $39/month. In exchange, Care.com and Sittercity help you run background checks on caregivers and offer a messaging platform that preserves your privacy. 

Sittercity is free for caregivers to use, so it may have more options than Care.com. On the other hand, Care.com is a global directory whereas Sittercity focuses on the US. Aside from nuances in prices and background check options, the sites are dizzyingly similar—you might as well try both.

3. Winnie.com

Winnie.com offers more filtering options than you might find on your state’s database. And unlike Care.com or Sittercity, you get to pick and choose which daycares to contact—not the other way around. Winnie.com also provides a messaging platform so you can reach out to providers without hunting around for a website or social media page.

That said, we found quite a few listings several years out of date. You’ll still need to put in some legwork to confirm prices and availability.

4. Places of worship

Religious institutes often run daycare programs, and you may not need to be a member to enroll your child. That said, it’s smart to choose a program with an ideology you’re comfortable with-religious or otherwise. Call around and see what’s available.

5. Trusted friends, family, and neighbors

You never know when you’ll need emergency child care. It helps to have a list of people you’d trust to care for your child in a pinch. 

  • A neighbor. Retirees or stay-at-home parents typically have the most flexible schedules. When you just need someone to walk your child to the bus stop or  watch them for a couple of hours after school, this is a convenient solution. 
  • A parent whose child attends the same school as yours. They can help with emergency overnight stays and still maintain your child’s routine. Just make sure you let the school know who’s authorized to pick up your child. 
  • Family. Many people are willing to help if given a chance. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins, and in-laws can all help, so let them know what you need. 

6. Word of mouth

Your friends and colleagues may have found a great caregiver who’s just starting and not listed on the sites above. Ask who they recommend. Just don’t fall into the trap of trusting your friend without doing your own research. Make sure the caregiver is right for your child. 

It would help to verify that the caregiver is licensed and insured. People caring for up to three unrelated children don’t need to be licensed, but that shouldn’t be an excuse not to meet safety standards. A background check never hurts, either.

FAQ

They can be, but it’s important for you to teach them everything you know about safe childcare. Don’t assume they know how to safely put your baby to sleep, properly heat a bottle, playtime dos and don’ts, etc.

No, but some employers offer in-office childcare or a childcare stipend as a benefit. Consider talking to HR about setting something up.

Cathy Habas
Written by
Cathy Habas
With over eight years of experience as a content writer, Cathy has a knack for untangling complex information. Her natural curiosity and ability to empathize help Cathy offer insightful, friendly advice. She believes in empowering readers who may not feel confident about a purchase, project, or topic. Cathy earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Indiana University Southeast and began her professional writing career immediately after graduation. She is a certified Safe Sleep Ambassador and has contributed to sites like Safety.com, Reviews.com, Hunker, and Thumbtack. Cathy’s pride and joy is her Appaloosa “Chacos.” She also likes to crochet while watching stand-up comedy specials on Netflix.

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