Professional Guide to Daycare Incident Reports

Professional Guide to Daycare Incident Reports

Professional Guide to Daycare Incident Reports

Professional Guide to Daycare Incident Reports

No matter how rigid your monitoring of children in your daycare center is, accidents and injuries are inevitable. Filing a daycare incident report is one of the most important steps you must take after a child is injured.

What is a daycare incident report?

A daycare incident report is a record of an accident, injury, behavior, or other incident that requires a child to stop normal activity and receive first aid or medical attention. They also cover instances of neglect, like a child being left without proper supervision, aggressive or unusual behavior, suspicion of abuse, and errors in following through with directives from caregivers. Don’t be hesitant or cautious to generate an incident report; they’re essential documentation for your daycare business’ operations. Even when you aren’t sure a report is necessary, having one is always more beneficial than not. 

Incident reports are meant to be comprehensive in case they need to be referred back to later and provide a detailed, objective record of a situation. It may also be one report of an isolated incident or an ongoing report of a continuous issue. All additional reports related to a prior incident should be equally as thorough and include the context of the previous reports.

Why are incident reports essential?

Daycare incident reports inform parents and guardians about their child's health and safety. Incident reports also help remove ambiguity after an incident by documenting what happened, when and how the incident occurred, and the staff member responsible for taking care of the child. Incident reports should be completed as soon as possible after the event.

As a childcare provider, you’re responsible for compliance with childcare laws and regulations. Daycare incident reports help hold your business accountable. They highlight repeat issues facing your facility and allow you to analyze how situations occur to prevent them in the future. Also, if any lawsuit is filed against your daycare, proper documentation is essential for those proceedings. 

Your daycare’s purpose is to provide high-quality care to the children you serve. Because incident reports improve the effectiveness of your facility, they also improve the care you provide. Having detailed records of situations helps identify where the children’s needs aren’t being met. They also provide information that may be important for parents and caregivers, doctors, therapists, or future teachers. 

How to write a daycare incident report

Daycare incident reports need to include specific information about the incident, the child that was involved in the incident, and the action that was taken after the incident occurred.

What should be included in a daycare incident report?

A daycare incident report should include:

  • The name of the daycare
  • The childcare consultant
  • The injured child's name and age
  • The cause of the injury
  • The date, time, and location of the incident
  • The locations of any injuries the child suffered
  • The types of injuries the child suffered
  • Medical treatment that the child received
  • The name of the medical facility (if the child was taken off-site to receive treatment)
  • The name of a staff member who witnessed the incident
  • The equipment involved in the incident (toys, playground equipment, furniture, medication)
  • The steps taken to prevent the incident from reoccurring 

After the incident report is completed, it should be signed and dated by the child's parent or guardian and the employee who completed the form. The form should also note the method used to contact the child's parent or guardian, the name of the employee who contacted them, and the date and time the parent or guardian was contacted.

Storing and sharing incident reports

Procedures for storing and sharing daycare incident reports vary by state. Most states require you to maintain copies of all incident reports at your center for a certain period of time and give a copy to the child's family. Other states require you to file a copy of the incident report with the state's licensing agency. Consult your state's Department of Human Services to learn more about its legal requirements regarding record keeping.

Legal requirements of incident reporting

Laws regarding reporting daycare incidents vary by state. provides websites and phone numbers that can be used to report childcare incidents in every U.S. state and territory.

Incident reporting by state

Easily create and download incident reports

The brightwheel app is an all-in-one-solution that allows you to operate your program with ease and confidence. With brightwheel, your childcare employees can quickly log incidents from their phones or tablets, allowing you to easily create and share incident reports with families and guardians.

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