The purpose of this study was to assess state licensing and administrative regulations promoting healthy sleep practices in child care and to compare these regulations to national recommendations.
We reviewed regulations related to healthy sleep practices for all states and territories for both child care centers (centers) and family child care homes (homes). We compared regulations with Institute of Medicine recommendations to promote sleep in child care, including (1) create environments that ensure restful sleep; (2) encourage sleep-promoting behaviors and practices; (3) encourage practices that promote child self-regulation of sleep; and (4) seek consultation yearly from a sleep expert. We used Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel trend tests to assess associations between geographic region and number of regulations consistent with the recommendations.
The mean number of regulations for states was 0.9 for centers and 0.8 for homes out of a possible 4.0. For centers, no state had regulations for all 4 recommendations; 11 states had regulations for 2 of the 4 recommendations. For homes, 9 states had regulations for 2 of the recommendations. States in the Northeast had the greatest mean number of regulations for centers (1.2) and homes (1.1), and states in the South had the fewest (0.7 and 0.7, respectively); these geographic differences were significant for centers (P = .03) but not homes (P = .14).
More states in the Northeast had regulations consistent with the Institute of Medicine sleep recommendations, but overall few states had regulations consistent with the recommendations.