Official State of Iowa Website Here is how you know
Iowa Department of Health and Human Services

Pre-Inspection for Registered Child Development Home

The below outlines the minimum requirements that must be met at the time of the pre-inspection.


Personnel shall have good health as evidenced by a preemployment physical examination. Acceptable physical examinations shall be documented on Form 470-5152, Child Care Provider Physical Examination Report or Informe sobre examen físico de proveedor de cuidado infantil.

Conditions in the home are safe, sanitary, and free from hazards

  • You must have a non-pay, working telephone
  • Emergency numbers are posted for police, fire, ambulance, and poison control
  • Electrical wiring is maintained, outlets are safely capped or tamper resistant and cord are properly used
  • Combustible materials are kept away from furnaces, stoves, gas dryers, or water heaters by a minimum of 3 feet.
  • Safety barriers are available at stairways and doors, as appropriate
  • If you have a private water supply, you must have an annual lab analysis to show atisfactory bacteriological quality
  • A safety barrier surrounds heating elements
  • You must have a 2A 10BC fire extinguisher on each child-occupied floor
  • A minimum of one single-station, battery operated UL approved smoke detector is in each child occupied room and at the top of every stairway and has been installed according to manufacturer recommendations
  • Smoking and use of tobacco is prohibited in the home and vehicles used to transport.  Smoking is prohibited in outdoor play areas during hours of operation.  Nonsmoking signs must be at every entrance of the home and in every vehicle used to transport.  Signs can be obtained at
  • Private sewer or waste water must be tested for efficient functioning and improper leakage
  • Homes built prior to 1960 must be assessed for lead hazards
  • All dogs and pets will have annual examinations.  Documentation will be maintained on Form 470-5153, Veterinary Health Certificate
  • If a bird is in the home, it must have been purchased by an approved dealer and examined by a veterinarian to verify free of infectious disease. 
  • Aquariums must be well maintained and installed so that children cannot get in water or pull tank over.

Outdoor space must be safe and maintained in good condition

  • Have a fence if located near a busy thoroughfare or near a hazard
  • Have sunshine and shaded areas
  • Free of litter, rubbish, or flammable materials
  • Free from contamination by drainage or ponding of sewage, household waste, or storm water
  • If there is a swimming or wading pool on the premises, it must have a fence that is at least 4 feet high and non-climbable.  If there is no fence, the pool must be covered by a cover that meets or exceeds ASTM standards

Medications and hazardous materials

  • All medicines and poisonous, toxic, or unsafe materials are secured from access by a child
  • First aid supplies are available and accessible, must include adhesive bandages, bottled water, disposable tweezers, and disposable plastic gloves

Emergency Plans

  • Fire and tornado plans are written and posted by primary and secondary exits.  Shall include a map with evacuation routes
  • Procedures are in place for:
  • Evacuation to safely leave the facility
  • Relocation to a common, safe location after evacuation
  • Shelter in place to take immediate shelter where you are when it is unsafe to leave that location
  • Lock down protocol to protect children and providers from an external situation
  • Communication plans and plans for reunification with families
  • Continuity of operations
  • Procedures to address the needs of individual children, including those with functional or access needs

Caring for a child under 1 year of age

  • If caring for children under 1 year of age, infants shall not be allowed to sleep on bed, sofa, air mattress, or other soft surface.  Infant car seat, swing, bouncy seat or other items not designed for sleeping will not be allowed.
  • If caring for children under 1 year of age, no toys, soft objects, stuffed animals, pillows, bumper pads, blankets, or loose bedding is allowed in sleeping area.

Category B or category C child development homes

If you are applying to be a Category B or Category C Child Development home, you must meet the following requirements:

  • A minimum of 35 square feet of usable indoor floor space is available to each child
  • A minimum of 50 square feet is available outdoors per child.
  • You must have a separate quiet area for sick children
  • You must have a minimum of TWO direct exits to the outside from the main floor:
  • All exits terminate at grade level with permanent steps
  • If you use the second story or basement for child care, in addition to one inside stairway, there is one direct exit to the outside
  • If a basement window is used as an exit, the window is able to be opened from the inside without the use of tools
    • The window must provide a clear opening of not less than 20 inches in width, 24 inches in height, and 5.7 square feet in area.  The bottom of the window opening shall not be more than 44 inches above the floor
    • Child Care is not provided above the second floor

Click to return to the Registered Child Development Home page.