NC State Laws Regarding Child Safety Fencing for Day Care Facilities

North Carolina state laws require that all day care facilities provide safe outdoor environments with age appropriate equipment in good repair within a fenced in perimeter. Child safety fencing is an essential part of ensuring a safe outdoor play area, especially for young children.

Under Section .0600 Safety Requirements for Day Care Centers in section .0604 General Safety Requirements, subsection j states, “The outdoor play area shall be protected by a fence or other protection. The height shall be a minimum of four feet and the top of the fence shall be free of protrusions by January 1, 1999. The requirement disallowing protrusions on the tops of fences shall not apply to fences six feet high or above. The fencing shall exclude fixed bodies of water such as ditches, quarries, canals, excavations, and fish ponds. Gates to the fenced outdoor play area shall remain securely closed while children occupy the area.”

wooden fenceMost people interpret this to mean chain link fencing as it is the most common and widely available; however, as it is not specifically stipulated day care facilities are by no means restricted to this particular type of fencing. In fact, as the state regulations say that outdoor playgrounds are to be “protected by a fence or other protection” one might interpret this to allow for a brick wall to be constructed around the play area perimeter, though this would not necessarily provide the welcoming atmosphere that most people look for in a day care center. This is important to note if you are looking to learn about day care opportunities and considering what to do with your chosen location for the center.

Here are some child safety fencing options that can be constructed to meet with the state regulations:

  • Chain Link fencing is easily customized to meet requirements, and are most readily available in four foot and six foot heights. Additionally they can be colored black, brown, green, or white for increased visibility.
  • Aluminum fencing can be made to have the required smooth top around the entire fencing with pickets close enough to prevent little ones from slipping through while also being less likely for the adventurous climbers to scale. It is also available in colors such as black, white, or bronze for visibility and added aesthetics.
  • Wood fencing can be constructed to meet guidelines and may be an ideal choice for day care centers in areas with neighboring animals. A stockade or privacy fence can discourage little hands form poking through, reducing the risk of potential bites. Even the friendliest of animals can become agitated.
  • Vinyl fencing can be constructed similarly to wooden stockade or privacy fencing, but with the added bonus of being easy to clean and holds up better to weathering.

Any fencing can be easily installed with self-latching gates, which are ideal to ensure that play areas are secured while in use.

The state guidelines under Section .0601 Safe Environment, subsection d also call for “Separate play areas or time schedules shall be provided for children under two years of age unless fewer than 15 children are in care. If a facility shares playground space with another facility that serves children, a separate play area or time schedule shall be provided for each facility.”

This is a safety measure to make sure the big kids are not running over the little kids. For facilities with the ability, sectioning off areas with fencing is a good way to create safe areas that meet with guidelines and minimize the need to schedule separate outdoor play time.

For more information, please contact Diversified Fence Builders, Inc. or call us at (336) 510-5561. We offer a free consultation and provide fence building services for commercial and residential clients in the Greensboro, High Point, Winston Salem and Burlington regions of the Piedmont Triad, as well as the surrounding North Carolina areas.

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