//Plan Review – Requirements for Equipment and Structure of Commercial, Government and Non-Profit Child Care Facilities

Plan Review – Requirements for Equipment and Structure of Commercial, Government and Non-Profit Child Care Facilities

The Facility Design Assessment & Permitting office is located at:

City of Las Vegas Development Services Center
333 N. Rancho Dr., Suite 450, Las Vegas, NV 89106
Messages may be left at (702) 759-0677 for appointments.
In order to ensure adequate time for processing, Environmental Health staff will no longer accept new applications after 4 p.m.

Child Care Centers and Family and Group Care Homes Definitions

Definitions: The following terms used in these regulations must be defined as follows:

  1. Accommodation Facility: A facility that is operated by a business that is licensed to conduct a business other than the provision of care to children, where the child care is an auxiliary service provided for the customers of the primary business.
  2. Approved: Acceptable to the Health Authority based on conformance with adopted regulations, good public health practices and recognized industry standards.
  3. Child Care Center: A child care facility in which the Licensee provides care for more than 12 children.
  4. Child Care Facility: A licensed establishment operated and maintained for the purpose of furnishing care, during the day or overnight, for children under 18 years of age, in which the parents or guardians are not present.
  5. Critical Height: The fall height below which a life-threatening head injury would not be expected to occur.
  6. Family Home Care: A child care facility, within a family dwelling, in which the licensee regularly provides care, without the presence of parents for at least one child, but not more than six children.
  7. Food Preparation: Any packaging, processing, assembly, portioning or any other process that changes the form, flavor or consistency of food.
  8. Footcandle: A unit of illumination. The illumination at a point on a surface that is 1 foot from and perpendicular to, a uniform point source of one candle.
  9. Group Care Home: A child care facility, within a family dwelling in which the licensee regularly provides care, without the presence of parents, for at least seven but not more than 12 children.
  10. Health Authority: The officers and agents of the District Board of Health.
  11. Health Hazard: An unsafe, unsanitary or other condition in the operation, environment, equipment or structure of a child care facility, which may constitute an unreasonable risk to the health, or safety of the occupants of the facility.
  12. Health Permit: Written approval by the Southern Nevada Health District to operate a licensed establishment that furnishes care, during the day or overnight, for children under 18 years of age, in which the parents or guardians are not present. Approval is given in accordance with these regulations and is separate from any other licensing requirements that may exist within communities or political subdivisions comprising the Southern Nevada Health District.
  13. Infant: A child usually aged from zero to 12 months that is not yet able to walk independently.
  14. Licensee: The person who, or organization which, is licensed pursuant to local or state child care licensing regulations and is responsible for the operation of a child care facility and adherence to these and child care licensing regulations.
  15. Licensing Authority: Any agency of a county or incorporated city that meets the requirements of NRS 432A.131 or in the absence of such agency, the Bureau of Services for Child Care of the Division of Child and Family Services in the Nevada State Department of Human Resources.
  16. Menu: Food available for, or served, as a meal or snack.
  17. Night Care Facilities: Any child care facility that operates between the hours of 12 a.m. to 6 a.m.
  18. Nuisance: Anything, which is injurious to the health, or offensive to the senses so as to interfere with the comfort or endanger the health of the occupants of the child care facility.
  19. Person: An individual, firm, partnership, association, corporation or other legal entity.
  20. Potentially Hazardous Food: Food that consists in whole or in part of: milk or products made from milk; eggs; meat; poultry; fish; shellfish; cooked rice; pasta; potatoes or other food capable of supporting the rapid and progressive growth of infectious or toxigenic microorganisms.
  21. Preschooler: A child usually aged from 3 to 5 years who has not yet entered regular school.
  22. Protective Surface: The ground surface material in the use zone of a piece of playground equipment that conforms to Section 7.4.7 of this regulation.
  23. Sanitize: The effective bactericidal treatment to clean surfaces of equipment by a process that has been approved by the Health Authority for being effective in destroying microorganisms, including pathogens. Typically less vigorous than disinfecting, sanitizing applies to food contact surfaces and surfaces that may enter a child’s mouth.
  24. School-Age Child: A child usually aged from five to 12 years of age who is enrolled in a regular school.
  25. Suitable Barrier: Any barrier that is not easily deformed, and able to prevent entry or access into areas that present a hazard to children under care.
  26. Toddler: A child usually aged from 13 to 35 months who is able to walk independently.
  27. Use Zone: The surface under and around a piece of playground equipment onto which a child falling from or exiting from the equipment would be expected to land.

Facility Design Plan Review

Plans for new construction, expansion, renovation or conversion, indicating the proposed use must be submitted to the health district’s environmental health division, plan review section, for review and approval prior to the start of construction.

  1. Plan review fees must be assessed based upon the extent of construction planned.
  2. Any construction, extension, modification or alteration taking place after the adoption date of these regulations must comply with all applicable sections of the child care regulations (see publication).
  3. Child care centers put into operation after the adoption date of these
  4. Regulations must comply in full with all applicable sections of these regulations.
  5. A child care center undergoing a change of ownership must be in compliance with applicable sections of these regulations prior to the approval of the new health permit on the facility.
  6. If construction has not begun within one year of the date of submittal of the plans, the plan review will be deleted. Extensions in excess of the one year limit must be requested, in writing, within the one year interval. The extension cannot extend for more than a six month period.

Furnishings and Equipment

General Requirements:

  1. The street address numbers must be affixed to the building and be easily visible from the street.
  2. Equipment, materials, toys and furnishings must be of sturdy, safe construction, easy to clean, and free of sharp points or corners, splinters, protruding nails, loose or rusty parts, or paint that contains lead or other poisonous materials.
  3. Items accessible to children must be age and developmentally appropriate.
  4. Furniture:
    1. Durable furniture such as tables and chairs must be age appropriate or safely adapted for children’s use.
    2. Highchairs must be stable, easily cleanable, maintained in good repair and equipped with safety restraints.
  5. Storage:
    1. Space for the orderly storage of napping and sleeping equipment, play equipment and supplies must be provided.
    2. Separate, identified storage areas must be provided for each child’s personal effects and clothing. Individual cubicles, lockers, or coat hooks must be provided. Coat hooks must be spaced to prevent the overlapping of personal items.
    3. Cubicles, if used, must be cleanable, non-absorbent, and solid in structure. No open sided or perforated containers must be used.
  6. Napping and Sleeping Equipment
    1. Mattresses, floor mats, cots and other napping and sleeping equipment must be nonabsorbent and easily cleanable or have a tightly fitting waterproof cover.
    2. Cribs and playpens must be of safe, sturdy construction, sanitary design, and conform to the following criteria:
      1. Crib slats must be spaced no more than 2-3/8 inches apart.
      2. Crib sides must have secure latching devices.
      3. Cribs must be equipped with a firm, tight fitting mattress. There must be no more than 1-1/2 inches of space between the mattress and bed frame when the mattress is pushed flush to one corner of the crib.
      4. Cribs and playpens must be free of corner post extensions and decorative headboard cutouts.

General Structural Provisions for Child Care Centers All Child Care Centers

Grounds/Outdoor Play Area

  1. Maintenance: The grounds must be well drained.
  2. Exterior Garbage: Exterior garbage and rubbish containers must be easily cleanable, covered with a tight fitting lid, and kept in an approved area inaccessible to children.
  3. Swimming Pools, Wading Pools, and Permanent Water Features:
    1. Swimming pools and permanent wading pools must meet all applicable requirements of the Nevada Administrative Code (NAC) 444, “Public Bathing Places and Spas.” Properly developed plans must be submitted to the health district’s pool plan review section, prior to the construction of a swimming pool, permanent wading pool or water feature.
    2. Portable wading pools are prohibited.
    3. Barriers to access: All bodies of water must have a barrier that conforms to NAC 444.136 (see Public Bathing Place regulations) with the exception that spacing between vertical components or under the fence must not exceed 3.5 inches.
    4. Any permanently affixed water table or sprayer must positively drain to an approved sewer. Slip-resistant surfaces must be provided as required in NAC 444.134, NAC 444.135, and NAC 444.194.
  4. Outdoor Play Area: If an outdoor play area is required by the Licensing Authority, the following criteria must be met:
    1. Construction plan review: Properly developed plans for construction, expansion, renovation or conversion must be submitted to the health district’s environmental health division, plan review section, for review and approval prior to the start of construction.
    2. Plan review fees must be assessed based upon the extent of construction planned.
    3. Plans on new construction in an existing or proposed child care center submitted after the effective date of these regulations must comply in full with the applicable sections of these regulations.
    4. Child care centers, operating at the time of adoption of these regulations, must, upon change of child care operator, or within five years, whichever is sooner, comply in full with Section 7 of these regulations.
  5. Enclosures / Fences:
    1. Perimeter fencing or walls and associated gates must be no less than 48 inches in height.
    2. The fence and all of its components must be of a sturdy, rigid and non-deforming construction.
    3. The fence must be constructed so that it is not climbable.
    4. Spacing between vertical components or under the fence must not exceed 3.5 inches.
    5. Gates must be secured in a manner that small children cannot gain unauthorized exit.
    6. Roof top playgrounds, as long as they are not in conflict with current Building and Fire Department requirements, must be completely surrounded by a non-climbable fence or wall at least eight feet in height, which has no openings to perimeter outdoor areas.
    7. Visibility: The outdoor play area must be arranged so that all areas in a given enclosed play yard are visible to child care providers.
  6. Drinking Water: Potable drinking water must be readily accessible to children during outdoor play. The means of drinking water delivery must meet the requirements of Section 9.1.4 of the regulations.
  7. Shade Structure: Shade must be provided in each separately fenced outdoor play area in addition to the shade offered by the walls of the building. The total amount of shade offered on the entire outdoor play area, exclusive of shade offered by building walls, must be no less than five square feet per child. The number of children used to determine the minimum requirements of this section must be the maximum facility occupancy as determined by the Licensing Authority.
  8. Playground Equipment:
    1. Only commercial grade equipment, in compliance with U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Standards, must be installed in child care center outdoor play areas. Items not manufactured for specific use as playground equipment including, but not limited to, concrete sewer pipes, truck tires and antique fire engines must not be installed on child care center outdoor play areas.
    2. Age Appropriate Use: Access to play equipment must be limited to age groups for which the equipment is developmentally appropriate according to the manufacturer instructions. When manufacturer instructions are unavailable, equipment type, size and dimension considerations will be determined by the most current edition of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, “Handbook for Public Playground Safety”, External Link Publication No. 325. Limited access must be ensured by;
      1. Separately fenced yards for each infant/toddler, preschool age and school age play areas, or
      2. Close supervision by knowledgeable child care providers.
      3. Playground equipment must have associated signage that defines the age range of children for which the equipment is intended. When a fenced area is intended for a particular age range and all the enclosed equipment is age appropriate for that age, the signage may be affixed at the entrance to the area.
      4. The equipment must be of a safe design. The equipment must be free of sharp points, corners or edges, splinters, protruding nails or bolts, pinch, entrapment or strangulation hazards, and loose or rusty parts.
      5. Permanent equipment must be anchored for stability in accordance with manufacturer instructions. At all times anchors must be buried below ground level.
      6. Moving equipment such as swings and merry-go-rounds must be located toward the outside edge or corner of a given play area or must be designed in such a way as to discourage children from running into the path of the moving equipment.
      7. Metal slides must not be used. Other metal surfaces must have a coating and/or cover reviewed and approved by the Health Authority that will prevent the surface from reaching a temperature that will burn a child.
      8. Swings, if used, must have seats of rubber or impact absorbing material and design. Wood or metal seats are prohibited.
      9. The highest designated play surface on new equipment in existing or proposed child care centers, installed after the effective date of these regulations, must not exceed eight feet for school aged and six feet for preschool aged children.
      10. Trampolines or other spring loaded jumping surfaces must not be permitted in a child care center.
  9. Protective Surfaces:
    1. A protective surface, such as, but not limited to wood chips, sand, pea gravel (3/8 inch rounded only – no sharp edged or crushed rock), or resilient matting, of a depth and space as specified in this Regulation must be provided in areas where climbing, sliding, swinging or other equipment from which a child might fall is located.
    2. The protective surface used under and around a particular piece of equipment must be installed to a depth determined by the most current edition of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, “Handbook for Public Playground Safety,” External Link Publication No. 325.
    3. Use Zones: The Use Zone is an area where a protective surface is required under and around a given piece of equipment. Other than the equipment itself, the Use Zone must be free of obstacles that children could run into or fall upon. Unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer, the protective surface must extend at least six feet beyond the perimeter of the equipment, except for equipment requiring larger use zones as determined by the most current edition of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission,“Handbook for Public Playground Safety,” External Link Publication No. 325.
    4. Protective surface maintenance
      1. The surface material must be properly drained.
      2. When loose fill, resilient material becomes compacted, it must be raked and/or turned to restore resilience.
  10. Sand boxes: Areas for sand play must be distinct from the landing areas surrounding slides and other equipment. Sand boxes smaller than 100 square feet must be covered when not in use.
  11. Room Finishes
    1. All walls, ceilings, floors, doors and attached equipment must be maintained clean, in good repair and free of hazards.
    2. Floor wall junctures in all areas not carpeted must be tightly coved with appropriate concave coving.
    3. Carpet must not be installed in food service areas, restrooms, utility/mechanical rooms or laundry areas. In new or extensively remodeled facilities, carpeting must not be permanently affixed under dining, wet craft, water tables, sink, diapering or drinking fountain areas. Area carpets must be skid-proof.
    4. Carpeted flooring and walls must be extraction-cleaned a minimum of every three months and more often if needed. A dated receipt of the last cleaning must be maintained at the facility available for review.
    5. Electrical outlets accessible to children must be made child proof.
    6. Electrical cords must be positioned to reduce a potential hazard to children.
  12. Openings
    1. Each exterior door and window must be weather tight and water tight, and prevent the entrance of insects and vermin.
    2. Windows that open must be screened.
  13. Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning:
    1. The facility must be capable of maintaining interior air temperatures in child occupied areas within a 68 to 82 degree temperature range, as measured 30 inches above floor level.
    2. One thermometer, accurate to plus or minus 2°F must be available to measure the temperature in each child occupied area. The thermometer must have the ability to be calibrated. The thermometer must be calibrated at least once every 90 days.
    3. Thermostats are not acceptable in lieu of thermometers.
  14. Lighting: Light intensity must be maintained at or above the minimum footcandle in accordance with the following:Intensity Location/Activity foot-candle (fc)
      • Reading, painting, puzzles or 50 fc on the work surface other close work Food preparation 50 fc on the work surface
      • General play such as house 30 fc on the surface keeping, block building
      • Restrooms, storage/laundry 20 fc at 30 inches from the areas, hallways, stairways floor
      • Napping areas 5 fc at 30 inches during nap period
    1. In all new construction, natural light is required in any room in which any child’s attendance exceeds four hours a day.
    2. All light bulbs and fluorescent tubes in child-occupied and food service areas must be shatterproof or protected by effective shields.
  15. Toilet and Lavatory Facilities:
    1. Floors and walls must be light in color, non-porous, easily cleanable surfaces and be maintained clean and sanitary.
    2. Full doors must be installed on toilet rooms that open directly onto a classroom or food service area.
    3. Restrooms must be ventilated by either a functioning electric fan vented to the exterior of the building or an openable, screened window.
    4. Based on the total licensed capacity, one toilet must be maintained for every 15 children or fraction thereof. Urinals, if installed, must not exceed 30 percent of the total required toilet fixtures.
    5. In new or extensively remodeled centers, toilet fixtures intended for child use must be of appropriate size and height for the children in care, as follows:Maximum Toilet Fixtures:Age Group Height in inches (As measured from the front rim of the toilet.)
      • Toddler 11 inches
      • Preschool 11 inches
      • School Age 15 inchesAdult height, handicap accessible toilets as required by the local Building Department must not be included in the toilet to child ratios.
    6. The diaper-changing surface must be smooth, impervious and nonabsorbent and be of adequate length and width to accommodate a diapered child safely. Padding if used must be free of any embossment, indentations or cloth stitching.
    7. The diaper changing table or counter must have a smooth, impervious, non-absorbent surface and be of adequate length and width to safely accommodate the diapered child.
    8. The diaper changing table or counter must be sturdy; a minimum 30 inches in height and in all new or extensively remodeled facilities, have railings or raised sides. A lower diapering surface, which is located out of the child activity area, is acceptable for older children with special needs.
    9. The walls adjacent to the diaper-changing area must be a light color, non-porous and easily cleanable.
    10. Floors adjacent to the diaper-changing areas must be smooth, easily cleanable and non-absorbent.
    11. The diaper-changing surface must be used exclusively for diapering.
    12. Lavatories must be located in or immediately adjacent to toilet rooms and diaper changing areas. In all new or extensively remodeled child care centers, a lavatory must be accessible without barriers, allowing the child care provider to visually supervise the group of children during hand washing activities. In all new or extensively remodeled child care centers, children’s lavatories must be at an appropriate child height as follows:
      Age GroupMaximum Wall HungSink Heights (inches) Counter
      Toddler22 inches21 inches
      Preschool24 inches22 inches
      School Age26 inches24 inches
    13. Counter widths must not be so great that children cannot easily reach the flow of water and faucet handles as appropriate for their age.
    14. In all new or extensively remodeled child care centers, there must be a minimum of one child appropriate height lavatory for every 15 children or fraction thereof.
    15. A child-height lavatory must be in close proximity to any diaper changing area used for ambulatory toddlers. In all new construction the toddlers’ hands must easily reach the flow of water without the use of a step aid.
    16. Each lavatory faucet must deliver a minimum 90°F, warm water within 20 seconds. Warm water must not exceed 120°F, where the lavatory has separate hot and cold water through a mixing faucet, or must not exceed 100°F from a tempered only water source. The faucet controls must be accessible by the intended user.
    17. If self-regulating faucets are used, they must be of a metered type, capable of providing at least 20 seconds of flow per actuation.
    18. The faucet must be capable of being operated by the intended user.
    19. Supplies: Single service hand towels from a wall hung dispenser and dispenser held soap must be provided at each lavatory. An approved trash receptacle must be in close proximity for towel disposal.
  16. Laundry and Custodial Areas:
    1. Boiler rooms, laundry rooms, electrical panels, transformers, custodial closets and other storage, supply or equipment rooms must be kept locked and inaccessible to children.
    2. Laundry areas must not be accessed through a food service area.
    3. The child care operator must provide adequate storage areas sufficient in size to keep soiled linen and laundry, separate from clean linen storage.

Sanitary Facilities and Controls

  1. Water Supply:
    1. The water supply, whether it be a municipal or private source, must meet potable standards in accordance with applicable Federal, State and local laws, ordinances and regulations including 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 141 and Nevada Revised Statute NRS 445A.
    2. If a private or community well is used, it must have a sanitary seal to prevent contamination from entering the well casing. Bacteriological and chemical samples must be in compliance with the Federal and State Safe Drinking Water Act, 40 CFR, Part 141 and NRS 445A.
    3. Hot and cold potable running water, under minimum system pressure of 15 pounds per square inch (psi) to all fixtures must be provided at all times.
    4. Drinking water must be readily accessible to children in each outdoor play area and indoor activity area. Fixtures must be maintained clean and sanitary. Drinking fountain with an angled jet and orifice guard. The pressure must be regulated so that the water stream does not come in contact with the orifice or splash on the floor. Drinking fountains must be protected from contamination. A minimum 18 inch separation must be maintained from hand wash sink, towel dispenser or other sources of contamination. Distances less than 18 inches may be approved by the Health Authority, if adequate and appropriate protection is provided.
    5. Drinking fountains on hand washing sinks are prohibited. In new or extensively remodeled facilities, drinking fountains on designated art or science sinks must not be approved.
    6. In all new or extensively remodeled child care centers, drinking fountains, intended for use by children in care, must be installed at an appropriate height to be used without the use of a step aid. Facilities existing prior to the adoption of these regulations, with drinking fountains out of child reach, must provide anchored steps or a broad-based platform under direct supervision by child care providers.
  2. Backflow Prevention: Anti-siphon, backflow prevention, vacuum breakers or other appropriate devices must be installed on all water outlets to which a hose may be attached. All systems in which a potable water supply is directly connected to systems that add, or have, chemicals, other hazardous substances, or compressed gases, i.e., boilers, chiller systems, carbonators etc., must have a reduced pressure principle backflow prevention device (RP) or other device approved by the Health Authority.Said device must be testable and able to vent back-flowing water to the atmosphere if said device fails.
  3. Plumbing: All water carried sewage must be disposed of by means of:
    1. A public sewage system; or
    2. An approved Individual Sewage Disposal System (ISDS) that is constructed, and operated in conformance with applicable state and local laws, ordinances and regulations.
  4. Drains:
    1. Outdoor drinking fountains and permanently affixed water play structures must drain to an approved sewage system.
    2. Food service equipment drains and sink drains must not be directly connected to the sewage system. Each waste pipe from such equipment must discharge indirectly into an open, accessible floor sink through a minimum one-inch air gap. Food service sinks located directly in infant/toddler nursery rooms are exempt from this requirement.
    3. Floor sinks must be installed flush with the finish floor and accessible for cleaning.
  5. Garbage and Rubbish Disposal:
    1. Containers used for food waste must be constructed of durable material that does not leak or absorb liquids. These containers must be provided with tight fitting lids or covers and must be kept covered when stored or not in continuous use.
    2. When emptied, garbage containers must be cleaned in a manner that does not contaminate food preparation, food service or child occupied areas.
    3. Waste containers must be adequate in size and number to hold all of the garbage and rubbish that accumulates between periods of removal from the premises.
    4. Garbage and rubbish storage facilities must be constructed so that they are capable of being maintained clean.
    5. Within the child care center, soiled disposable diapers must be disposed of in a receptacle used solely for that purpose. The receptacle must be non-absorbent with a tight fitting cover or lid. The receptacle must be lined with a non-absorbent disposable liner and be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected as needed.
  6. Vermin Control: Openings to the outside must be effectively protected to prevent the entrance of vermin. Such protection may include tight fitting, self-closing, exit doors and screened or closed windows.
  7. Chemical Storage: Chemical storage areas within a child’s reach must be equipped with child-proof safety latches or locks.


Aquariums and Fish Bowls: Fish aquariums must be of sturdy design, provided with a cover and protected from being overturned. Aquariums and fish bowls must not be located on food preparation or dining surfaces.

Food Service

  1. A child care center conducting food preparation, for service to children must conform to all applicable food service rules and regulations regarding food protection and sanitation practices as set forth in the current health district Regulations Governing the Sanitation of Food Establishments.
  2. The Health Authority must approve the extent of food service offered by the child care center. Any change in the approved method or extent of food service must be reported to the Health Authority for review and approval prior to the change.
  3. Applications for a change of ownership on an existing child care center, remodeling of an existing child care center kitchen or proposed child care center must include a food service letter of intent and a sample menu.
  4. The child care center must be in compliance with the Food Service Construction and Equipment Requirements as outlined in the most current health district Regulations Governing the Sanitation of Food Establishments.
  5. Childcare facilities licensed under NRS 432A that limit the menu to non-potentially hazardous foods (PHFs) and those PHFs that are pasteurized and / or commercially prepared and pre-cooked are EXEMPT from physical facility requirements adopted pursuant to NRS 446.940.
  6. Childcare facilities not falling under the aforementioned exemption must meet all construction criteria provided in Food Service Establishment Plan Review Requirements for Equipment and Facilities (see separate publication).
  7. Meals Provided from Outside Vendors/Central Kitchens:
    1. If meals are provided from outside vendors, a central kitchen, caterers, or other outside sources, hot holding and refrigeration equipment that meet National Sanitation Foundation International (N.S.F.I.) Standards (standards 4 & 7, respectively) or equivalent must be provided on-site.
    2. A hand-washing sink serviced with hot and cold, or tempered water, and dispenser-held soap and single-use towels must be available to wash hands before food service.
    3. If reusable tableware/utensils are washed and stored on-site, a three-compartment and a hand-washing sink, as required by the most current health district Regulations Governing Food Establishments must be provided.
    4. Other additional equipment may be required when the child care center provides on-site food preparation, in addition to the vended/delivered service.
    5. Food preparation/dining/utensil/rinsing areas must be kept separate from diapering areas and hand washing sinks. In the case of nursery areas, if food service is anticipated within a given room, a separate food service counter with a rinsing/food preparation sink must be provided within the room. This area must be physically separated from diapering and hand washing areas by a minimum of 18 inches of open air space or a splashguard as required by the Health Authority.

Contact Information


Updated on: March 5, 2019