This article comes from our electronic archive and has not been reviewed. It may contain glitches.

Day-care facilities, almost unheard of prior to World War II in this country, have become so matter-of-fact that second and third generations of youngsters are now being cared for by someone other than a family member. Even though it is a way of life these days, most working mothers still have emotional pangs when they drop off their child, particularly at first.

For one thing, parents who use day care are concerned about the safety and well-being of their child. Are they getting enough attention? Are their needs being tended to? Are they eating properly? These are just a few of the many questions in the minds of working parents.

There are more than 70 licensed day cares in Cape Girardeau County, and each of them will be subjected to three -- sometimes four -- inspections that are aimed at making sure the facilities meet minimum standards for safety and health. This should be of some comfort to parents who send their children to licensed facilities.

The three inspections at every licensed day care include an overall review by the state's licensing agency, a fire safety inspection and a sanitation inspection. In addition, day cares participating in federal food programs are subject to a fourth inspection.

The sanitation inspection is the newest of the lot. It was mandated by a change in state law last year. There are several key areas involved in the sanitation review, including food safety, water supply, asbestos and lead contamination and pets on the premises.

There are some commonsense things that inspectors look for too. One of the most basic is making sure hands are washed frequently, because dirty hands spread germs more than anything else.

If problems are spotted by the inspectors, the day-care provider is given a list of recommended improvements.

All of this is aimed at making the places where so many children spend most of their days safer and less likely to create other problems. Parents can take some comfort in knowing that the inspections are being done.