Boy in childcare


Child Care for Babies

Studies show that babies do best when they have the same caregivers over time. This means your baby needs a close, caring relationship with just 1 or 2 caregivers besides parents. Make sure the caregiver you choose will pay careful, loving attention
to your baby. Talk with her often about how your baby is doing. And remember, you can visit at any time. It is a good idea to drop in now and then when you are not expected.

Where to Find Help

CalWorks Child Care
Help paying for child care or preschool.

Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline
Help with discipline problems and parent stress; child abuse prevention.

Background checks of in-home child care providers.

More Resources

Things You Can Do

Make Sure Your Caregiver Knows:

  • How to safely help your baby stop crying. Ask her to call you if your baby cannot stop crying.

  • When to call Emergency Services (9-1-1).

  • When to call Poison Control.

  • How to prevent choking and what to do if your child chokes.

When Your Baby Is Sick

Keep your baby home from child care when she is sick. If you get paid sick leave at your job, you should be able to use it to care for your sick baby. Or ask a relative or friend to stay with your baby when she is sick.

If You Suspect Bad Treatment

Your baby cannot tell you if she is being mistreated or ignored. If you are concerned about bruises, or your baby seems hungry or dirty, call the Child Protective Services number for your county, or call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline.


Child Care Checklist

Checklist for Babies’ Child Care.

Different Kinds of Child Care

  • Home child care is when a licensed child care provider looks after other people’s children in her home. These places can care for 14 children at most, but many have only 8 or fewer children. This is different from having a relative or a nanny care for your child.

  • Child care centers usually have several licensed child care providers. These places are usually bigger than home child care. Often they have children of different ages in separate groups.

California Child Care Resource and Referral can help you find qualified child care. TrustLine lists child care providers who have passed a criminal background check.


Watch whether babies seem happy when you check out a child care center.

Being Apart Can Be Hard

Try to spend some time with your baby and the caregiver the first few days your baby is at child care. If you can, start with half-days the first week.

Helping Your Baby Learn

Make sure your caregiver helps your baby learn. She should talk, sing, and play with your baby. She should read picture books and nursery rhymes. And there should be many books and toys that are safe for babies to play with.