Protocols for Parents


  1. Delivery Protocols
  2. Hand-off Protocols
  3. Departure Protocols
  4. Transition Protocols
  5. Supervision Protocols
  6. Water Protocols


Delivery of a child to day care or to a relative should be verified by multiple people, typically the parents with each other.  This delivery confirmation can be done via phone call, text or email.

STEP 1:  Delivery Confirmation text Sent by Parent A to Parent B (or to grandparent, or close friend.)

STEP 2:  Response by Parent B back to Parent A

#1 Sample Protocol
A: “He’s dropped off.”  B:”I appreciate you dropping him off.”

#2 Sample Protocol
A: “Mia is at Grandmas, safe and sound.”  B: “Thanks.”

#3 Sample Protocol
A: “She’s now  at Aunt Alice’s having fun.”  B: “Roger.”


Hand-offs are the transfer of control of the child from one caregiver to another and require direct eye contact and verbal acknowledgement.

Ship Commander: “Transferring command”
2nd Commander:  “In command”

Pilot: “Transferring control”
Co-pilot:  “In control”

Nurse goes over each patient chart with the nurse coming on to the shift.

#1 Sample Protocol
Father:  “He’s all yours.”
Mother: “I got him.”

#2 Sample Protocol
Mother: “Daddy, he wants to hold your hand now.”
Father:  “OK, I’ve got him.”

#3 Sample Protocol
Mother: “You are officially in charge, now.”
Babysitter:  “I’m in charge, yes.”
Mother:  “Good.”


1) To avert elopement (child leaving the house unattended)
2)  To avert driveway runovers.

STEP 1:  Announcement of intent to leave by person A

STEP 2:  Response and action to have physical control of the child by caregiver B
1.  Hand holding
2.  Door locking – all doors.
3.  Pick child up
4,  Fastened in stroller, back pack, high chair or with leash
5.  Knowing the precise location of child
6.  Within the reactionary gap

STEP 3:  Verification that person departing is out of sight.
1.  Visual check
2.  Text or phone

#1 Sample Protocol
Mother:  “I need to go or I’ll be late.”
Father:   “OK”  (Checks that child is asleep in room.  Walks with mother to the door. Personally closes and locks door leading to garage.)

#2 Sample Protocol
Father walking down sidewalk to car:  “I’m going to the store.”
Mother gardening in front yard:  “Ok, Maya and Braden come here.”  (Holds both toddlers’ hands until father has pulled out of the driveway and car is out of sight.)

#3 Sample Protocol
Father:  “I need to leave now.”
Mother:  “Give your father a kiss.”  (Picks child up.  Walks to the door leading to garage. Closes and locks door after father exits. Listens for car to pull out and electric door to close.)

(Minutes later father returns, standing in kitchen)

Father:  “I forgot my briefcase.  Can you see me out again.”
Mother:  “Did you leave anything else?  Brandon, where are you?”
Brandon:  “Here.”  (Mother sees toddler in the chair in the family room with the iPad. Takes Brandon by the hand.)
Mother:  “Let’s say goodbye to Daddy again.”  (Holding hands follow father to the door leading to the garage.  Mother locks the door behind father.  Listens for the car to back out, and garage door to close.)


Transition protocols are used when moving between cars and buildings;  cars and open venues like parks or beach, or lake front, or other transition areas.

#1 Sample Protocol – Exiting car at destination

STEP 1:  Pull into parking space closest to venue.

STEP 2:  PAUSE.  Think though exit plan.* ** Evaluate weather and safety conditions. Make phone calls. Send texts.  Apply make-up.  Brush hair and other grooming. Review grocery or other list.  Arrange purse or bag.   Exit vehicle.  (If safety is a concern, plan to make calls, and finish grooming inside venue.)

STEP 3:  Unload stroller or backpack, and any other bags or items.

STEP 4:  (For infant) Remove infants from car. Fasten into stroller or backpack or shopping cart.

STEP 5:  Remove toddler from carseat.  Fasten into stroller, backpack or hold hands.

STEP 6:  Keep head up and scan for movement while walking across parking lot.

* Consider the option of calling someone who can come out to assist you into the venue.

**  When there are two adults, assign one adult to unload items, one to unload children, or some other official  combination.


#2 Sample Protocol – Arriving at home

STEP 1:   Pull into garage or parking space closest available to home.

STEP 2:  PAUSE * Gather purse, glasses, etc.  Evaluate weather and safety conditions.  Exit vehicle.

STEP 3:  Remove infant carseat, remove toddler, second.  Hold toddler’s hand and proceed to house.

STEP 4:  Put children in secure location, (crib, playpen) or hand-off to caregiver, and return for groceries and packages.

*Consider the option of calling someone who can come out to assist you.



Water protocols plan for the natural consequences of the fact that children are naturally attracted to water, and that it is not possible to maintain an unbroken gaze upon a child for any length of time.

STEP 1:  Implement a layered defense with pool fence, self-latching gate, gate lock, gate alarm, house door alarm, Turtle Alarm bracelets (which activate a separate alarm when wet), and certified swim vests or other certified swim aids.

STEP 2: Teach your child to swim. Consider lessons with a certified teacher.  Know your child’s abilities.

STEP 3:  Provide a “water watcher” for all parties either at pools or open water.  A water watcher, watches the water and calls for help if there is a problem.

STEP 4:  When exiting the area, recognize that the child may want to go back “to the scene of the fun” so use locks on gates, turn on the motion detector pool alarm, or shut the electric pool cover.  Use rigorous supervision to make sure he doesn’t try to go back to the water, by locking all gates and door as you leave the pool area and enter the house, or leave the lakefront area, and enter the car.

STEP 5:   Use a Hand-off Protocol to transfer supervision to another adult or trained teen, while you answer phone calls, or leave to use the restroom, or check on the barbeque grill.






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