Parents with children in day care can easily envision nightmare scenarios: exposure to deadly allergens, forgotten or incorrect medication, choking or broken limbs, all because the providers weren't paying attention. The iPad app Tadpoles is designed to give childcare providers a way to keep track of kids' needs -- and parents peace of mind while keeping them informed throughout the day.
"Having a child and needing to go back to work was the original inspiration for Tadpoles," co-founder Andy Monroe tells LAUNCH. "I felt like I was missing out on so much by not being there. By simplifying the process of taking a photo and sharing it I thought I would be able to see more updates about my child. That problem is magnified inside of a childcare center where you may have 100 children and hundreds of parents."
Tadpoles, which Andy Monroe founded with business development expert Bill McHugh in 2011, is available as a web-based service and iOS apps. The day care and preschool versions of the apps give parents real-time notes and reminders, photos and videos of their children at day care, and school notifications and alerts.
Improving efficiency was important as well: "For the most part childcare is a paper based business and we believe we can completely revolutionize that," says Andy.
On the childcare provider's end, Tadpoles provides scheduling and attendance-taking capabilities, access to emergency contacts and medical information for each child, and daily logs and reports.
"The childcare and preschool app is free and always will be," Andy says. "Parents can access our website for free or use the app. Today we charge $10 for the app but it will be replaced by a free one. Parents will get access to all text information (daily reports, notes and reminders) for free and then can do an in app upgrade to receive photos or videos."
Andy says that previously, parents would receive the daily report of their child's activities on a piece of a paper.
"Teachers can now do that on their iPhone or iPad and include photos and videos and share throughout the day," Andy says. "Parents stay more involved and get a better glimpse into their child's day."
By providing real-time updates, Tadpoles helps put parents at ease in regards to their child's safety.
"I need to tell you how much my husband and I appreciate receiving the Tadpoles Updates," Tadpole user and parent Maggie writes. "It really means the world to us to be able to see the kids throughout the day and to see what a great time they are having at camp. To see them interacting and having fun with the bean bag toss and enjoying the scooter races has calmed my nerves more than you will ever know."
Other companies in this market include Daycare Tracker Pro and Baby Sitting: Child Care.
The statistics on accidents at day care centers is alarming. In Colorado, a mother whose child died while at daycare in Albany, GA is dedicating herself to pushing for stricter safety policies in child daycares.
In 2009, an Australian report came out revealing that 1,353 children were involved in accidents at child care centers in 2007 and 2008. Fifty-eight children were also lost from child care centres during the two-year period. Another 59 were given incorrect medication.
In 1997, about 31K children 4 years old and younger were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms for injuries that occurred at child care/school settings, according to a 1999 report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Philadelphia-based Tadpoles, a bootstrapped company, launched in April 2011 and aims to be in every child daycare center worldwide. Currently, Tadpoles is in more than 100 daycare centers, but less than 1000, Andy says.
Tadpoles provides a tutorial for childcare providers.
View activities, photos and get reminders.
CONTACTS & LINKS
Andy Monroe, co-founder at Frogsquared
Bill McHugh, co-founder