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Daycare centres run by non-working women in their houses are for certain inexpensive when compared to sending your toddler to a nursery in Dubai. But keep in mind they are “illegal” and your child’s safety is being compromised.

Speaking to Emirates24|7, a senior Dubai government official confirmed that running daycare centres in residential apartments or villas is illegal.

“Operators of daycare centres need a licence to run such a facility. It is an economic activity and cannot be run without a licence. It is illegal and one can face fine,” said Mohammed Shael, Chief Executive Officer, Business Registration and Licensing in the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED).

After DED gets a complaint, it dispatches inspectors to verify the complaint.

“We take snaps and if the complaint is validated we do take action. The owner of the apartment is fined as per Ministry of Social Affairs guidelines.”

His statement comes after rumours of daycare centres and parents being fined in Discovery Gardens. We spoke to government authorities and Nakheel, the master developer, but none confirmed any fines or action.

According to DED official, people running illegal daycare facilities have been previously fined, but no penalties have been issued in the past 18 months.

Rebecca Rees, Corporate Communications Manager, Nakheel, told this website: "Nurseries and playschools are required to obtain a trade licence and commercial activity approval.

“We are not aware of these alleged incidents but, had they been reported to our Community Management team, we would have addressed them immediately and referred them to the authorities for further investigation and action. We also advise parents to check that childcare establishments are fully licensed."

Shael said that parents sending their children to illegal daycare centres don’t face fine, adding, “ they were putting them at risk.”

“I urge parents to ensure safety of their children. There are certain guidelines on the tiles, the area and safety measures that need to be in place for daycare centres. A residential apartment is not for the purpose of running a day care.”

- Affordability factor

But, many parents are finding it easier to send their tiny-tots to their neighbourhood nanny, which is far cheaper than sending them to a kindergarten.

“It was the most convenient think for us. My wife and I are out on work the whole day, and we were finding it tough to find a daycare for our two-year-old. Some place that was affordable and nearby,” explains a parent in Al Nahda who asked not to be named.

“Some playschools are exorbitantly priced and some don’t offer daycare. So, we thought it was best to put our son in our neighbour’s house.”

Social networking and classified websites have series of listings for babysitters and daycare facilities.

“Babysitting in Karama Centre Building… homely atmosphere,” read one.

“Are you looking out for a babysitter, I am a mom of 1 baby from India (Bombay ) staying at St 9. taking good care and making them play or read and write while you are at work,” read another one.

Even some homemakers claim to offer pre-school training with pick-up and drop facilities.

“High quality babysitting available in Bur Dubai… Pre-school training for small kids. Before going to school, your child must know all these activities,” read another advert.

“I am a Filipina doing baby sitting at our own flat on drop & pick basis,” read an advert on a local social website.

By Parag Deulgaonkar and Sneha May Francis

Page last updated 01 January 2020
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