Too cold for recess? Not at many daycares


It requires childcare centers to have a certain amount of outside playtime even when it's cold.

Some parents aren't happy, but daycare providers say they feel like they're stuck between following the law and keeping kids safe.

Click here to read the law and see the weather chart mandated by the state (.pdf)

The law took effect this summer. It mandates 30 to 60 minutes of outdoor activity a day. It's meant to keep kids from getting fat which some parents like.

"I have 3-and-a-half and 5-year-old boys. So, I think it's great that they get 30 to 60 minutes of playtime no matter what," offered parent Mary Katherine Cato at Kids R Kids in Wake Forest where hoods and scarves were the norm Wednesday.

But some wonder if it'll make kids sick.

"It has been cold the last couple of days and that is a concern of ours being outside in the cold temperatures," said parent Reid Byers.

Daycare directors like Janine Russell at Kids R Kids have to use a chart that has them monitoring air temperature and wind chill to see if it's comfortable, when to take caution, and when it's dangerous to play outdoors.

"Before the law was passed, we were encouraged to use common sense. And, now we have to follow the chart," she said.

She questions what she sees as rigid requirements.

"Parents don't have a choice either. Once you bring your child to a child care center licensed by the state, your option to keep your child indoors is gone," she said.

State officials stand by the law, but say there's wiggle room.

"If it's under the caution … then they should be taking the children outside today," said Tammy Barnes, Director of Regulatory Services. "They should be able to if they dress them appropriately."

"We're certainly not going to cite a violation for something like that," she continued.

The state says if a child is not dressed appropriately, they're not required to be taken outside.

Also on a caution day - like Wednesday - once the kids are showing signs of being too cold, the state says it's okay to cut playtime short.

ABC11 saw that in Wake Forest Wednesday. Kids spent only 10-15 minutes outside.

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