Leaving a child with a stranger is one of the hardest things a parent can do. Putting a child in a daycare center is a necessity for working families but it doesn't have to be as scary if the right approach is taken.

Sharron Pender, who is a supervisor for daycare licensing at the Texas Health and Human Services, said Illegal operations do exist. Doing your research to make sure the daycare you choose is licensed and registered with the state of Texas is the first thing a parent should do.

Today we constantly look at peer-to-peer reviews for a lot of information when researching products or places. In the state of Texas the Health and Human Services Commission overseas licensing and regulation of daycare centers and gives the public access to the names, locations and contact information of the daycare operators through their website.

For Sabrina Anderson, who runs her own home daycare with 24 years experience, going to a daycare unannounced can be a really good way for parents to gauge a place when they are in normal operations.

Any parent choosing and leaving their child at a daycare can be a daunting task but the experts say as long as you research your choice you won't be left in the dark.

For a list of things to look at when choosing a daycare check below.

To find check anything on the states licensing website, click here.

Research checklist

  • Always check the state licensing website to make sure the place is registered and legal
  • Check the state website for any violations
  • If you have a special needs child make sure the daycare has experience or accreditation
  • ask to see a daycare's licensing and procedures policies
  • Go at unscheduled time for a visit to get a real sense of the place
  • Book your child in as early as possible for the summer as most places fill quick.
  • Ask about their policies on health and safety, emergencies, discipline, feeding and sleep.
  • If they have had violations in the past you are most certainly allowed to ask them about how they rectified the situation.