Alert! This chapter may be affected by an emergency rule:
DCF 251.08(4)(b)1.1. Each child who is under 1 year of age or who weighs less than 20 pounds shall be properly restrained in a rear-facing individual child car safety seat when being transported in a vehicle as specified in s. 347.48, Stats.
DCF 251.08(4)(b)2. 2. Each child who is at least 1 year of age but less than 4 years of age or who weighs at least 20 pounds but less than 40 pounds shall be properly restrained in a forward-facing individual child car safety seat when being transported in a vehicle as specified in s. 347.48, Stats.
DCF 251.08(4)(b)3. 3. Each child who is at least 4 years of age but less than 8 years, weighing not more than 80 pounds or taller than 4 feet 9 inches shall be properly restrained in a shoulder-positioning child booster seat when being transported in a vehicle as specified in s. 347.48, Stats.
DCF 251.08(4)(b)4. 4. Each child who is not required to be transported in an individual child car safety seat or booster seat when being transported in a vehicle shall be properly restrained by a seat belt. Each adult in the vehicle shall be properly restrained by a seat belt. Seat belts may not be shared.
DCF 251.08(4)(b)5. 5. Children transported in school buses or vehicles built to school bus standards shall be properly seated according to the manufacturer's specifications.
DCF 251.08(4)(c) (c) Passenger doors shall be locked at all times when a vehicle transporting children is moving.
DCF 251.08(4)(d) (d) Children under age 13 may not ride in the front seat of a vehicle.
DCF 251.08(5) (5)Vehicle capacity and supervision.
DCF 251.08(5)(a)(a) Children may not be left unattended in a vehicle.
DCF 251.08(5)(b) (b) When children are transported in a vehicle, there shall be at least one adult supervisor in addition to the driver in either of the following circumstances:
DCF 251.08(5)(b)1. 1. There are more than 3 children who are either under 2 years of age or have a disability which limits their ability to respond in an emergency.
DCF 251.08(5)(b)2. 2. There are more than 10 children under 5 years of age in the vehicle.
DCF 251.08(5)(c) (c) After transporting a child to his or her destination, an adult shall wait until the child enters the building or is in the custody of an adult designated by the parent, unless otherwise authorized by the parent of a school-age child.
DCF 251.08(5)(d) (d) A seat in the vehicle shall be provided for each child. In a vehicle not required to have seat belts, the manufacturer shall determine the capacity of the vehicle.
DCF 251.08(5)(e) (e) The center shall develop and implement a procedure to ensure that all children exit the vehicle after being transported to a destination.
DCF 251.08(6) (6)Regularly scheduled transportation.
DCF 251.08(6)(a)(a) When regularly scheduled transportation is provided by a center, the center shall maintain the following information in writing at the center and in each vehicle:
DCF 251.08(6)(a)1. 1. A list of children transported.
DCF 251.08(6)(a)2. 2. The transportation route and scheduled stops.
DCF 251.08(6)(a)3. 3. The name and address of the person authorized to receive a child if the child is dropped off at a place other than the child's residence.
DCF 251.08(6)(a)4. 4. Procedures to be followed when the parent or designated authorized adult is not at home to receive the child.
DCF 251.08(6)(b) (b) The center shall maintain written safety precautions to be followed and implemented when transporting children with disabilities or children who have a limited ability to respond in an emergency.
DCF 251.08(6)(c) (c) When transportation services are contracted or chartered, the name, address and telephone number of the contracting firm and the name of a representative of the firm who may be contacted after hours shall be on file at the center.
DCF 251.08(7) (7)Center vehicles.
DCF 251.08(7)(a)(a) A center-provided vehicle shall be in safe operating condition. Except for licensed contract motor carrier vehicles, the licensee shall provide the department evidence of the vehicle's safe operating condition at 12-month intervals on a form the department provides. Licensed contract motor carrier vehicles shall comply with all applicable standards for those vehicles.
DCF 251.08 Note Note: The department's form, Vehicle Safety Inspection, is used to record evidence of the vehicle's safe operating condition. 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 251.08(7)(b) (b) A center-provided vehicle, other than a licensed contract motor carrier, shall be equipped with a first aid kit.
DCF 251.08(8) (8)Child care vehicle safety alarm.
DCF 251.08(8)(a)(a) A vehicle shall be equipped with a child safety alarm that prompts the driver to inspect the vehicle for children before exiting if all of the following conditions apply:
DCF 251.08(8)(a)1. 1. The vehicle is owned or leased by a licensee or a contractor of a licensee.
DCF 251.08(8)(a)2. 2. The vehicle has a seating capacity of 6 or more passengers plus the driver. The seating capacity of the vehicle shall be determined by the manufacturer.
DCF 251.08(8)(a)3. 3. The vehicle is used to transport children in care.
DCF 251.08(8)(b) (b) No person may shut off a child safety alarm unless the driver first inspects the vehicle to ensure that no child is left unattended in the vehicle.
DCF 251.08(8)(c) (c) The child safety alarm shall be in good working order each time the vehicle is used for transporting children to or from a center.
DCF 251.08 Note Note: Information on the required vehicle safety alarm is available in the “child care licensing/information for providers" section of the department website at
DCF 251.08 History History: Cr. Register, January, 1997, No. 493, eff. 8-1-97; CR 03-052: r. and recr. (3) and (7), am. (4) (b) and (5) (d), cr. (4) (d) Register December 2004 No. 588, eff. 3-1-05; CR 07-102: am. (1), (3) (b), (4) (d), (5) (b) 1. and (6) (b), r. and recr. (2) (a), cr. (3) (c), (4) (b) 2. to 5. and (5) (e), renum. (4) (b) to be (4) (b) 1. and am. Register December 2008 No. 636, eff. 1-1-09; CR 14-028: cr. (8) Register July 2016 No. 727, eff. 8-1-16.
DCF 251.09 DCF 251.09Additional requirements for infant and toddler care.
DCF 251.09(1)(1)Applicability and general requirements.
DCF 251.09(1)(a)(a) Group child care centers providing care and supervision to infants and toddlers shall comply with the additional requirements of this section.
DCF 251.09(1)(am) (am) Prior to admission, an interview shall be conducted with a child's parent or guardian to obtain written information which will aid child care workers in individualizing the program of care for the child. Information shall include all of the following:
DCF 251.09(1)(am)1. 1. Schedule of meals and feeding.
DCF 251.09(1)(am)2. 2. Types of food introduced and timetable for new foods.
DCF 251.09(1)(am)3. 3. Toileting and diapering procedures.
DCF 251.09(1)(am)4. 4. Sleep and nap schedule.
DCF 251.09(1)(am)5. 5. The child's way of communicating and being comforted.
DCF 251.09(1)(am)6. 6. Developmental and health history.
DCF 251.09 Note Note: The licensee may use the department's form, Intake for Child Under 2 Years — Child Care Centers, or the licensee's own form to record information for individualizing the program of care for each child. 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 251.09(1)(b) (b) Admission information for an infant or toddler shall be on file in the room or area to which the child is assigned and shall be known to the child care worker.
DCF 251.09(1)(c) (c) Child care workers shall document changes in a child's development and routines every 3 months based on discussion with the parent.
DCF 251.09(1)(d) (d) Each infant and toddler shall be cared for by a regularly assigned child care worker in a specific self-contained room or area. Infants and toddlers may not be transferred to the care of another child care worker or another group or room in order to adjust group sizes or staff-to-child ratios, except under one of the following circumstances:
DCF 251.09(1)(d)1. 1. During the first 2 hours and the last 2 hours of center operation.
DCF 251.09(1)(d)2. 2. When the number of children in a group is one or 2 children to one child care worker.
DCF 251.09(1)(e) (e) The regularly assigned child care teacher and assistant child care teacher for each group of infants and toddlers shall have a minimum of 10 hours of training in infant and toddler care approved by the department within 6 months after assuming the position. If the training is not part of the required entry-level training under s. DCF 251.05 (1) (f) or (g), it shall be obtained through continuing education.
DCF 251.09(1)(f) (f) Infants and toddlers are restricted to first floors and ground floors having direct grade-level exits unless the building is in compliance with all applicable building codes that permit children to be cared for on other levels. The building inspection report on file with the licensing office shall indicate that children under 2 years of age may be cared for on other levels of the center.
DCF 251.09(1)(g) (g) Safety gates shall be provided at open stairways.
DCF 251.09(1)(h) (h) For centers licensed on or after January 1, 2009, the space occupied by cribs shall be deducted in determining the 35 square feet space requirement under s. DCF 251.06 (7) (a) for each child.
DCF 251.09(1)(i) (i) The number of children under one year of age admitted at any one time may not exceed the number of cribs and playpens.
DCF 251.09(1)(j) (j) Cribs and playpens shall contain a tight fitting mattress and any mattress covering shall fit snugly over the mattress. Water beds may not be used by children under age 2.
DCF 251.09(1)(k) (k) Sheets or blankets used to cover the child shall be tucked tightly under the mattress and shall be kept away from the child's mouth and nose.
DCF 251.09(1)(L) (L) Children under one year of age may not sleep in a crib or playpen that contains soft materials such as sheepskins, pillows, fluffy blankets, bumper pads or stuffed animals.
DCF 251.09(2) (2)Daily program.
DCF 251.09(2)(a)(a) Child care workers shall respond promptly to a crying child's needs.
DCF 251.09(2)(b) (b) Each infant and each toddler shall be allowed to form and follow his or her own pattern of sleeping and waking.
DCF 251.09(2)(bm) (bm) Each child under one year of age shall be placed to sleep on his or her back in a crib unless otherwise specified in writing by the child's physician. The child shall be allowed to assume the position most comfortable to him or her when able to roll over unassisted.
DCF 251.09(2)(c) (c) Emphasis in activities shall be given to play as a learning and growth experience.
DCF 251.09(2)(d) (d) Throughout the day each infant and each toddler shall receive physical contact and attention such as being held, rocked, talked to, sung to and taken on walks inside and outside the center.
DCF 251.09(2)(e) (e) Routines relating to activities such as taking a nap, eating, diapering and toileting shall be used as occasions for language development and other learning experiences.
DCF 251.09(2)(f) (f) When a non-mobile child is awake, the child care worker shall change the child's body position and location in the room periodically. Non-mobile children who are awake shall be placed on their stomach occasionally throughout the day.
DCF 251.09(2)(g) (g) The non-walking child who can creep or crawl shall be given opportunities during each day to move freely by creeping and crawling in a safe, clean, open, warm and uncluttered area.
DCF 251.09(2)(h) (h) Child care workers shall encourage infants and toddlers to play with a wide variety of safe toys and objects.
DCF 251.09(2)(i) (i) Infants and toddlers shall be taken outdoors for part of each day except during inclement weather or when this is not advisable for health reasons.
DCF 251.09(2)(j) (j) Equipment shall be provided to take infants and toddlers out of doors for a walk.
DCF 251.09(2)(k) (k) An adult-size rocking chair or other adult-size chair shall be provided for each child care worker for the purpose of holding and rocking children.
DCF 251.09(3) (3)Feeding.
DCF 251.09(3)(a)(a) Child care workers shall do all of the following:
DCF 251.09(3)(a)1. 1. Feed each infant and each toddler on the child's own feeding schedule.
DCF 251.09(3)(a)2. 2. Ensure that food and formula brought from home are labeled with the child's name and dated, and are refrigerated if required.
DCF 251.09(3)(a)3. 3. Ensure that formula prepared by the center is of the commercial, iron-enriched type and mixed according to the manufacturer's directions.
DCF 251.09(3)(a)4. 4. Except as provided in subd. 6., provide formula or breast milk to all children under 12 months of age.
DCF 251.09(3)(a)6. 6. Provide a type of milk other than a type under subd. 4., or a milk substitute, only on the written direction of the child's physician.
DCF 251.09(3)(a)7. 7. Discard leftover milk or formula after each feeding and rinse bottles after use.
DCF 251.09(3)(a)8. 8. Offer drinking water to infants and toddlers several times daily.
DCF 251.09(3)(a)9. 9. Hold a child unable to hold a bottle whenever a bottle is given. Bottles may not be propped.
DCF 251.09(3)(a)10. 10. Cover, date and refrigerate commercial baby food containers which are opened and foods prepared in the center which are stored. If not used within 36 hours, leftover food shall be discarded.
DCF 251.09(3)(a)11. 11. Hold or place a child too young to sit in a high chair in an infant seat during feeding. Wide-based high chairs, hook-on chairs or infant seats with safety straps shall be provided for children who are not developmentally able to sit at tables and chairs.
DCF 251.09(3)(a)12. 12. Encourage children to experiment with self-feeding with their hands and spoons. Eating utensils and cups shall be scaled to the size and developmental level of the children.
DCF 251.09(3)(a)13. 13. Offer a variety of nourishing foods to each child, such as cereal, vegetables, fruit, egg yolks and meat, according to the child's developmental level and the parent's feeding schedule.
DCF 251.09(3)(a)14. 14. Refrain from feeding a child directly from commercial food containers.
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.