Many agencies offer checklists of questions for parents to consider as they decide on day-care arrangements. The following questions are taken from ''Going to Work? Choosing Care for Infants & Toddlers?'' (Day Care Council of America, 1602 17th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20009, $3.95) and from ''Choosing Child Care for Your Infant and Toddler'' (4-C in Dane County, 3200 Monroe Street, Madison, Wis. 53711). ABOUT THE CAREGIVER:
Does the caregiver seem calm and gentle?
Does the caregiver seem to feel good about herself and her job?
Does the caregiver demonstrate flexibility and humor when dealing with the young child's changing moods?
Does the caregiver have child-rearing attitudes similar to your own?
Are touches, hugs, and kisses shared?
Where is most of the caregiver's time spent: interacting with the children, observing the children, or doing things away from them?
Does the caregiver encourage the infants and toddlers to learn self-help skills? Example - finger or spoon feeding, cup drinking, hand and face washing.
Does the caregiver understand what children can and want to do at different stages of growth?
Does the caregiver encourage both boys and girls to experiment and explore?
Does the caregiver tell the child what she is doing while performing routine care such as diapering and feeding?
Does the caregiver tell children what they ''can do,'' setting limits in a positive manner?
Does the caregiver provide a routine toddlers can understand?
Does the caregiver seem willing to take time to discuss your child with you regularly? ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT:
How many children are cared for in the home, family day-care center, or center-based setting?
Does the setting meet state licensing or registration requirements?
Is the caregiver's housekeeping up to your standards?
Is there adequate storage for clean and soiled diapers or clothing?
Is there any evidence that children are served ''junk foods'' for snacks or meals?
Is there room for your child to crawl, roll, walk, or run?
Are there places for your child to spend time alone and places for group activities?
Is the sleeping area away from the play area to encourage restful napping?
Are there toys for your child to play with now and some that your child could use at a later age?
Are there enough toys for each child to play with without having so many that there is confusion?
Do most of the toys have all their parts?
Are there opportunities for infants to play with objects that develop their senses of touch, sight, and hearing?
Are there safety caps on electrical outlets?
Are there covered radiators and protected heaters?