Security Camera Systems for a Daycare

Best Security Camera Options for a Daycare

Technology continues to improve the quality of video available for your daycare security cameras. Easy to install wireless camera systems with long record volumes are now available at competitive prices. We researched not only the best options available but also some best uses. Should you stream the video for parents? Who has access to the recordings? What are the laws associated with recording children in a daycare setting?

Types of Security Cameras

Long gone are the grainy black and white security cameras. Thanks to advancements in camera sensor technology and high-speed wireless networks a relatively low-cost video recording system is available for your daycare. Each option has its pros and cons. Many systems let you start small and add additional features and equipment.

We already researched the best options. View our top three wireless security cameras on amazon.

Decide what security situation you are trying to cover. 

  • Are you concerned about outside intruders?
  • Do you need to record child pick-up and drop-off?
  • Do you need monitored protection of the children from staff or other children?
  • Would you like evidence to protect your business?
  • Would you want remote access to the system?

Learning List: Types of security cameras

  • Bullet Cameras - High-quality resolution with long-distance viewing. Allows you to focus on a coverage area. Easily mount on wall or ceiling.
  • Dome Cameras - Camera is mounted inside a dome housing and usually mounted on the ceiling. Dome conceals the direction of the camera and protects it from vandalism.
  • PTZ Security Cameras - Pan-Tilt-Zoom cameras give you the ability to direct your surveillance. These can be set to sweep areas automatically or can be controlled remotely. 
  • IP or Wireless Cameras - Most camera types are now available to be used over a Wi-Fi network. These systems offer an easy installation. The cameras will still need to be wired to a power source.
dome covered PTZ camera
dome covered PTZ camera

We found that bullet-style cameras work the best in our daycare setting. They provide a wide enough angle to capture large areas. The video quality is sufficient to assess the recorded situation. The high angle on a dome camera could make it challenging to determine what exactly is happening. If your Childcare Director spends a reasonable amount of time in her office, a PTZ camera may be a good option. When a situation needs a closer look, they can quickly zoom in to assess what action needs to be taken. This option would be especially helpful in a larger facility that has a dedicated office staff to monitor the video. I'd consider a dome-covered PTZ camera as the constant zooming and panning could make the team uncomfortable.

Before purchasing a wireless system check the bandwidth of your WiFi network. Locate your system's router and google the maximum bandwidth of your model. You may need to upgrade to a higher bandwidth router such as the TP-Link AC4000 Smart WiFi Router. Keep in mind this has nothing to do with your internet speed unless you plan to stream the video for the parents — more on that a little later.  IP cameras tend to have very demanding bandwidth requirements so they could affect other items connected to the network such as phones, laptops, printers and hey, maybe your toaster or coffee pot. HA!

You'll also need a decent size monitor to view all the cameras at once. No need to go overboard with fancy specs look for last years model or a good deal on a used one. Since it will be on for long periods, it will be prone to wear out and need to replaced every 3-5 years. 

Is it legal to record video in a daycare?

As with most daycare laws and regulations, they vary from state to state. While most States allow the use of surveillance cameras in the workplace the laws are usually different for childcare facilities. A good rule of thumb is not to hide the cameras and to use signage to let people know they are being recorded. Be sure to state this in the employee handbook and on parent registration forms. Cameras should not record private areas such as restrooms, or employee lounges. Camera should not be zoomed into diaper changing areas. Many states have regulations on recording child changing tables so be sure to contact your local childcare governing agency. Your state labor department will have information on employee's workplace privacy laws. Daycare have a legitimate need to record the workplace to protect the children, the staff and the company. As long as everyone is aware of the filming, the practice should be upheld in court.

Daycare video surveillance policies

Having and implementing your childcare policies and procedures for recorded video is vital. This information should be readily available to the staff, parents, and guardians. If you are adding cameras to a daycare that did not have them be sure everyone connected to the business is aware of this change. Let them know that you are adding the cameras as protection for everyone.

Who can see the video?

Childcare centers should install a closed-circuit (CCTV) video system. CCTV systems are not connected to the internet. The viewing of the recorded video should be limited to the Director and the Assistant Director. Per most state regulations video recordings made by the facility, and are maintained for viewing as a part of a continuous monitoring system, shall be made available to licensing staff upon request. This does not include video recordings of special events, etc.  In our centers, we do not allow parents to view the footage because of the privacy of other students that may be involved. Consider the rules associated with written incident reports. In Nevada, for instance, you are not allowed to mention the name of any other child involved in an incident so by that logic a parent should not be able to view the recording either.

The video should be used to find the truth so issues can be resolved in a fair manner for all involved. Directors can also use the video to assess the abilities of the employee and find ways to help them improve. The video should never be used to demean an employee or child. Copies of clips from any recording should never leave the facility in any way without a court order. 

To Stream or Not to Stream Your Video

Given the privacy concerns of the staff and other students, we simply do not recommend streaming video. Doing so can open your company up to a can of worms. It would be too easy for someone to record a clip and share it on social media. 

Example daycare video surveillance policy

Below is an example policy for a registration form or parent handbook. It could also be altered for use in an employee handbook. I suggest that you customize it for your center and pass it by your legal consultant.

"To ensure the safety and security of all children, staff, parents, and visitors, as well as the security of our daycare facility, Our childcare Center is equipped with a 24-hour video surveillance system, and we have installed security cameras in all classrooms, hallways, kitchen area, outdoor play area, and parking lot. The director or assistant director may view a recorded video or live surveillance of any portion of the premises at any time. Video/security cameras will be positioned in appropriate places within and around our daycare center facility and used to help promote the safety and security of children, staff and our center. Because we respect the privacy of all children, parents, and staff in our daycare center, our 24-hour video surveillance system/security cameras are for internal purposes only. Due to privacy concerns, parents/guardians are not permitted to review video."

Learning List: Daycare Video surveillance Policies

  • Use common sense when placing the cameras. Consider your employee's privacy.
  • Never hide a camera. Period!
  • Be upfront with parents, guardians, and your staff. Reinforce that this is done for everyone's protection not to catch people in the act of wrongdoing. 
  • Only your senior staff members should have access to recorded video.
  • The videos are not to be used for anyone's entertainment.

View our top three wireless security cameras on amazon.

Best Security Camera Options for a Daycare

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