Whether in a home or a commercial day care center, those who care for infants and toddlers need to have the right equipment on hand to meet the needs of these children. These young ones need more supervision and attention during these years, so child care providers should make sure they have everything on hand to keep infants and toddlers safe, healthy and growing developmentally.
During their waking hours, infants and toddlers need stimulation to learn. For infants, provide a supply of age-appropriate toys that an infant can hold, shake, mouth and inspect. Swings, bouncy seats and activity centers will also keep an infant entertained when she can't be held. Toddlers need more variety, such as soft balls to roll, pull and push toys, shape sorters and pretend toys such as dolls and phones. According to Healthy Children in "The Developmental Milestones of Early Literacy," caregivers can encourage language and literacy development in both infants and toddlers by reading to them. A supply of sturdy board books is perfect for this age.
Each child needs to have a clean, sanitized space where he can eat. Provide some sort of high chair for infants to sit in, whether they are being fed or learning how to self-feed. Toddlers can use a high chair, a booster seat at a traditional table or a small table and chair set designed for a toddler to sit independently.
Infants and toddlers require at least one nap during the day, so child care providers need to have a space where the children can rest. Infants need some sort of crib to sleep in, whether it be a traditional crib or a portable one. Toddlers may be able to use a crib as well, but older toddlers who start to climb out of cribs can sleep on a small bed or a napping mat on the floor.
On nice days, it is healthy for infants and toddlers to get outside for fresh air and exploration. Child care providers need to have a stroller that has space for the children to ride in. Specialty strollers can be purchased with room for up to six children this age. In many instances, children will not leave the child care facility, but if they do, the provider needs to ensure age-appropriate car seats for infants and toddlers are available. According to Baby Center in "Installing a Car Seat," the newest recommendations include keeping an infant or toddler rear-facing in the car until his second birthday.
Diaper and Bathroom Facilities
When taking care of infants and toddlers, diapers will need to be changed. Invest in a changing table that can easily be sanitized after each change and placed in a location where caregivers can still monitor other children's activities. For toddlers, the potty training process begins, so make a small potty chair available, along with a step-stool for little ones to wash hands.
Infants and toddlers are notorious for their curious exploring. Invest in gates that will keep little ones off stairs and other unsafe areas. Kids Health suggests using hardware-mounted gates on stairs because pressure-mounted gates can slip. Make sure all heavy furniture, televisions and appliances are anchored to the walls so they won't topple on a child. All electrical outlets must be covered and cords out of a child's reach.