Alert! This chapter may be affected by an emergency rule:
DCF 251.06(3)(a) (a) Post the fire evacuation and tornado plan and practice implementing the fire evacuation plan monthly. Tornado drills shall be conducted monthly from April through October.
DCF 251.06(3)(b) (b) Make sure that all staff members know what their duties are if there is a fire, tornado, tornado warning, missing child or other emergency.
DCF 251.06(3)(c) (c) Keep a written record of dates and times of all fire and tornado drills practiced.
DCF 251.06 Note Note: The licensee may use the department's form, Fire, Safety and Emergency Response Documentation — Group Child Care Centers, to record dates and times of the monthly fire or tornado practice. Information on how to obtain the department's form is available on the department's website,, or from any regional licensing office in Appendix A.
DCF 251.06(4) (4)Fire protection.
DCF 251.06(4)(a)(a) Each fire extinguisher on the premises of a center shall be operable at all times, inspected once a year by a qualified person and bear a label indicating its present condition and date of the last inspection.
DCF 251.06(4)(b) (b) All staff members shall be instructed in and knowledgeable about the use of the fire extinguishers.
DCF 251.06(4)(c) (c) Each floor used by children shall have at least 2 exits.
DCF 251.06(4)(d) (d) Exits and exit passageways shall have a minimum clear width of 3 feet and be unobstructed by furniture or other objects.
DCF 251.06(4)(e) (e) An extension cord may not be used permanently with an appliance.
DCF 251.06(4)(f) (f) No more than 2 electrical appliances may be plugged into any one wall outlet.
DCF 251.06(4)(g) (g) The door to the basement and furnace room shall be closed.
DCF 251.06(4)(h) (h) Areas under stairs may not be used for storage.
DCF 251.06(4)(i) (i) All exit lights shall be lit at all times.
DCF 251.06(4)(j) (j) Fire alarms, alarm systems and smoke detectors shall be maintained in good working order. Fire alarms and smoke detectors shall be used to conduct monthly fire evacuation drills. Fire alarms and smoke detectors shall be tested weekly and a record kept of the test results.
DCF 251.06 Note Note: The licensee may use the department's form, Fire, Safety, and Emergency Response Documentation — Group Child Care Centers, to document the results of the weekly testing of fire alarms and smoke detectors. Information on how to obtain the department's form is available on the department's website,, or from any regional licensing office in Appendix A.
DCF 251.06(4)(k) (k) Unvented gas, oil or kerosene space heaters are prohibited.
DCF 251.06(5) (5)Sanitation.
DCF 251.06(5)(a)(a) The premises shall be free from litter, clean and in good repair.
DCF 251.06(5)(b)1.1. There shall be no flaking or deteriorating paint on exterior or interior surfaces in areas accessible to children.
DCF 251.06(5)(b)2. 2. No lead-based paint or other toxic finishing material may be used.
DCF 251.06(5)(c) (c) Garbage containers in the building shall be rigid, covered, watertight and emptied daily or more often as needed. Compactors need not be emptied daily. Garbage and refuse stored out of doors shall be kept in leak-proof containers equipped with tight-fitting covers and shall be disposed of as necessary to prevent decomposition or overflow.
DCF 251.06(5)(d) (d) Furnishings, toys, cots and other equipment shall be washed or cleaned when they become soiled. Eating surfaces shall be washed and sanitized before and after each use.
DCF 251.06(5)(e)1.1. Toilet rooms and fixtures shall be in a sanitary condition at all times.
DCF 251.06(5)(e)2. 2. Potty chair receptacles shall be emptied and rinsed and the potty chair and receptacle shall be disinfected immediately after each use with a chlorine bleach solution of one tablespoon to one quart of water, made fresh daily.
DCF 251.06(5)(f) (f) Windows and doors that are used for ventilation shall be screened.
DCF 251.06(5)(g) (g) The premises shall be maintained to prevent the entrance or harborage of vermin.
DCF 251.06(6) (6)Water.
DCF 251.06(6)(a)(a) A safe supply of drinking water shall be available to children at all times from a drinking fountain of the angle jet type or by use of disposable cups. Common use of drinking cups is prohibited.
DCF 251.06(6)(b) (b) If the center gets its water from a private well, the following shall apply:
DCF 251.06(6)(b)1. 1. Water samples from the well shall be tested annually for lead and bacteria by a laboratory certified under ch. ATCP 77. The laboratory report shall be available to the department upon request.
DCF 251.06(6)(b)2. 2. A center serving children under 6 months of age shall have the water tested annually for nitrate levels.
DCF 251.06 Note Note: Section NR 809.11 sets the maximum allowable level of nitrate-nitrogen in public drinking water at 10 milligrams per liter (10 parts per million).
DCF 251.06(6)(b)3. 3. If water test results indicate the water contains high levels of lead or is bacteriologically unsafe, the water shall be appropriately treated and re-tested until it is determined to be safe. Bottled water shall be used until the water is determined to be safe. If the water tests above the maximum allowable level of nitrates, bottled water shall be used for infants under 6 months of age.
DCF 251.06 Note Note: Centers using a private well that serves at least 25 of the same people over 6 months of the year are considered to have a non-transient non community water system (NTNC) and must be in compliance with Chapter NR 809, Safe Drinking Water Act Standards. Contact the nearest Department of Natural Resources from the list at:
DCF 251.06(7) (7)Indoor space.
DCF 251.06(7)(a)(a) The space used by children shall be no less than 35 square feet of usable floor space for each child, exclusive of passageways, kitchens, bathrooms, coat storage areas, offices, storage areas, isolation quarters, staff room, furnace room, parts of rooms occupied by stationary equipment, and areas not at all times available to children, including areas used exclusively for large muscle activity, napping or eating.
DCF 251.06(7)(b) (b) There shall be additional storage space for cots, bedding, supplies and equipment not in use.
DCF 251.06(8) (8)Furnishings.
DCF 251.06(8)(a)(a) Furnishings shall be durable and safe, with no sharp, rough, loose or pointed edges.
DCF 251.06(8)(b) (b) Tables and seating shall be scaled to the proper height and size for the children's comfort and reach.
DCF 251.06(8)(c)1.1. Except as provided in subd. 2., in a center where meals are served, seating shall be at least equal to the licensed capacity of the center, excluding infants, so that the children can be served at the same time, and there shall be space at a table for each child.
DCF 251.06(8)(c)2. 2. In a center where meals are served in a central lunchroom, seating and tablespace shall be at least equal to the number of children to be served in a shift.
DCF 251.06(8)(d) (d) Shelves shall be provided for equipment and supplies in rooms used by children. Equipment and supplies shall be arranged in an orderly fashion so that children may select, use and replace items.
DCF 251.06(8)(e) (e) There shall be sufficient storage space for clothing and personal belongings to accommodate the clothing and personal belongings of as many children as are in the licensed capacity of the center. For children 2 years of age and older, the space for outer garment storage shall be at child level.
DCF 251.06(8)(f) (f) A safe, washable cot, bed, two-inch thick mat or sleeping bag shall be provided for each child 12 months old or older who naps or sleeps.
DCF 251.06(8)(g) (g) A safe, washable crib or playpen shall be provided for use of each child less than 12 months old who naps or sleeps. A crib or playpen shall be washed and disinfected between changes in occupancy.
DCF 251.06 Note Note: See Appendix D for information on safe cribs and playpens.
DCF 251.06(9) (9)Kitchens.
DCF 251.06(9)(a)(a) Equipment and utensils.
DCF 251.06(9)(a)1.1. When meals are prepared or heated on the premises, the kitchen shall be equipped with a microwave or stove with an oven, a refrigerator, a sink and utensils that are necessary to prepare and serve meals. The sink shall be used exclusively for food preparation and dishwashing.
DCF 251.06(9)(a)1m. 1m. Centers preparing or serving only snacks are not required to have a sink unless dishes or utensils requiring dishwashing are used. Centers preparing or serving only snacks are not required to have a microwave or stove unless the snacks served require heating. Refrigerators are required if the center serves milk or other perishable snacks.
DCF 251.06(9)(a)2. 2. All equipment and utensils shall have smooth, hard surfaces, be easily cleanable, in good repair, durable, non-toxic and free of cracks, seams, chips and roughened areas, and shall be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition.
DCF 251.06(9)(a)3. 3. Food preparation tables shall be durable, and surfaces shall be smooth, non-absorbent and easily cleanable.
DCF 251.06(9)(a)4. 4. After cleaning, utensils shall be stored in a clean, dry place and protected from contamination.
DCF 251.06(9)(a)5. 5. Single-service utensils shall be non-toxic, stored in a clean, dry place, kept covered, and may not be reused.
DCF 251.06(9)(a)6. 6. Infant bottles and nipples may not be reused without first being cleaned and sanitized.
DCF 251.06(9)(b) (b) Dishwashing procedures.
DCF 251.06(9)(b)1.1. All kitchen utensils and food contact surfaces used for preparation, storage or serving of food shall be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized after each use.
DCF 251.06(9)(b)2. 2. All utensils and dishes shall be scraped, sorted and prewashed under running water.
DCF 251.06(9)(b)3. 3. For manual washing of dishes and utensils, a 3-step procedure shall be used:
DCF 251.06(9)(b)3.a. a. Wash in water between 110° and 125°F., using an effective soap or detergent.
DCF 251.06(9)(b)3.b. b. Rinse by immersing dishes and utensils in clean, hot water to remove soap or detergent.
DCF 251.06(9)(b)3.c. c. Sanitize by submerging dishes and utensils for at least 2 minutes in 1½ teaspoons of bleach per gallon of water or another solution of a sanitizer approved by the department.
DCF 251.06(9)(b)4.a.a. If a center uses a commercial dishwasher to clean dishes and utensils, the dishwasher shall have a readily visible temperature gauge located in the wash compartment. If the dishwasher is a spray type or immersion type dishwasher, a temperature gauge shall also be located in the rinse water line.
DCF 251.06(9)(b)4.b. b. Wash at 130 degrees Fahrenheit to 150 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 20 seconds, using an effective cleaning agent, and rinse and sanitize at 180 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 seconds or more, using an automatic rinse injector.
DCF 251.06(9)(b)4.c. c. When using a spray-type dishwashing machine, the dishes and utensils shall be washed, rinsed and sanitized in the dishwasher according to the manufacturer's operating instructions. A chemical sanitizer shall be used in the final rinse.
DCF 251.06(9)(b)5. 5. If the center uses a home-type dishwasher to clean dishes and utensils, the dishes and utensils shall be washed and rinsed in the dishwasher and sanitized by submerging dishes and utensils for at least 2 minutes in 1½ teaspoons of bleach per gallon of water or other solution approved by the department.
DCF 251.06(9)(b)6. 6. All dishes and utensils shall be air-dried in racks or baskets or on drain boards.
DCF 251.06 Note Note: A list of approved sanitizers is available from the Department of Health Services, Division of Public Health, P.O. Box 2659, Madison, WI 53701-2659.
DCF 251.06(9)(c) (c) Food sources.
DCF 251.06(9)(c)1.1. Food shall be clean, wholesome, free from spoilage, free from adulteration or misbranding and safe for human consumption. Meat, poultry, fish, molluscan shellfish, eggs and dairy products shall be from an inspected source.
DCF 251.06(9)(c)2. 2. Only milk and milk products which are pasteurized and meet the Grade A milk standards of the Wisconsin department of agriculture, trade, and consumer protection may be served or used.
DCF 251.06(9)(c)3m. 3m. Meals shall be prepared on the premises, in a central kitchen operated by the child care center or in another location that has been inspected by a representative of a state agency.
DCF 251.06 Note Note: Chapter ATCP 75, subch. III, addresses restaurants and other public eating establishments. Chapter ATCP 75, subch. II, addresses retail food establishments.
DCF 251.06(9)(c)4. 4. Food in dented, bulging or leaking cans, or cans without labels, may not be used.
DCF 251.06(9)(c)5. 5. Hermetically sealed, non-acid or low-acid food which has been processed in a place other than a commercial food processing establishment may not be used.
DCF 251.06(9)(d) (d) Food storage.
DCF 251.06(9)(d)1.1. Foods shall be stored at temperatures which protect against spoilage. The following measures shall be taken to prevent spoilage:
DCF 251.06(9)(d)1.a. a. Perishable and potentially hazardous food which includes all custard-filled and cream-filled pastries, milk and milk products, meat, fish, shellfish, gravy, poultry stuffing and sauces, dressings, salads containing meat, fish, eggs, milk or milk products, and any other food or food product likely to spoil quickly if not kept at the proper temperature shall be continuously maintained at 40°F. or below or 150° F. or above, as appropriate, except during necessary periods of preparation and service.
DCF 251.06(9)(d)1.b. b. Each refrigeration unit shall be maintained at 40°F. or lower and each freezing unit shall be maintained at 0° F. or lower.
DCF 251.06(9)(d)1.c. c. Each cold storage facility shall be equipped with a clearly visible accurate thermometer.
DCF 251.06(9)(d)1.d. d. Food shall be covered while refrigerated, except when being cooled.
DCF 251.06(9)(d)2. 2. Foods not requiring refrigeration shall be stored in clean, dry, ventilated and lighted storerooms or areas which shall be protected from contamination by sewage, wastewater backflow, condensation, leakage or vermin. In addition:
DCF 251.06(9)(d)2.a. a. Dry foods, such as flour, sugar, cereals and beans shall be stored in bags with zip-type closures or metal, glass or food-grade plastic containers with tight-fitting covers and shall be labeled. In this paragraph, “food grade plastic" means any plastic material used in the manufacture of dishes or utensils which has been found not harmful to human health by the national sanitation foundation.
Published under s. 35.93, Stats. Updated on the first day of each month. Entire code is always current. The Register date on each page is the date the chapter was last published.