All creches come under the regulation of the HSE and pre-school care providers are required to notify the authority that they are providing such a service.
The HSE inspector can then inspect the premises from time to time to ensure it complies with regulations which came into effect in September 2007, setting down standards of health, safety and welfare.
A refusal to allow the inspection can lead to a fine of up to €1,250. A breach of the regulations carries a similar fine and the possibility of a 12-month jail sentence.
The HSE has the right to close the creche or limit the number of children.
Full details of registered creches are carried on the HSE website which also promises to carry inspection reports in the future.
Regulations require creches to subject all staff to garda vetting and ensure enough staff in accordance with specific child to adult ratios.
The building and equipment must provid a specific minimum space for each child with proper safety arrangements, training and insurance.
Creches are also obliged to help the children's development and must also have first aid and medical arrangements, written policies on dealing with challenging behaviour, a register of each child's attendance with contact numbers for parents and doctors.
Children staying more than five hours a day should be offered at least two meals and two snacks and one meal should be hot.