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C4.1 Childrens Safety

Children’s Safety - Including: Health and Safety; Fire Prevention; Staffing Ratios; Arrivals and Departures; Lost and Missing Children; Safe Conduct of Outings and Transportation/Collection of Children

Introduction:

Provision of a safe environment is essential to the well-being of children and adults. Good quality care includes taking steps to prevent accidents, being prepared to deal with emergencies if and when they occur and educating children about safety matters.

Who is responsible?

All staff working on the premises are responsible for ensuring theirs and the children’s safety. All safety concerns should be reported immediately and dealt with appropriately to ensure that it does not pose a risk. For example by removing equipment or blocking off an area temporarily. The Childcare Services Managers and the Project Director are ultimately responsible for children’s safety and all concerns should be reported to them.

The Premises/Environment:

  • Doors to and from the building should be properly secured to prevent children gaining access to the street or parking area or leaving the building unsupervised
  • Doors leading to outdoor play areas should be properly secured so that the children cannot gain access to the outside without staff knowledge. Outdoor play areas should be fenced and secured so that the children cannot gain access to the street. The outdoor play area should be checked daily to ensure bolts and catches are working correctly and that the area is free of rubbish, glass, poisonous plants or any other item that could endanger the health of a child. Childcare staff should also do a check of the area before taking the children outside each time. All outdoor safety checks should be recorded on the safety check sheet with any action taken.
  • Children should not be able to gain access to an area of the nursery where they cannot be seen and adequately supervised. As a means of fostering independence skills, children in the preschool and after school club are encouraged to toilet themselves when it is felt that they able to but staff should be aware of where the children are and regularly check the children’s toilet area to ensure that there are no children requiring assistance.
  • Children should not be allowed into the kitchen area unsupervised and all dangerous equipment and substances should be inaccessible to children i.e. knives, cleaning products etc. Children should not enter during times when cooking is taking place.
  • CCTV is in operation in all centres that monitor the front reception areas to ensure safety for all users of the centres.
  • One of the major factors contributing to accidents is a lack of tidiness. All toys and equipment not in use should be put away so that the nursery does not become too cluttered. Litter and spillages should be safely cleaned up immediately. All broken equipment should be thrown away.
  • When setting up activities and arranging the environment staff should ensure that the way they are placed in relation to one another does not lead to safety risks. Team leaders should regularly review the accident logs to see if activities and the environment are causing reoccurring accidents.
  • Floor coverings such as rugs and mats not attached to the floor should have non-slip fixtures.
  • Doors to nursery areas should be fitted with safety strip to prevent children trapping their fingers
  • All cleaning products and disinfectants should be clearly labelled. These materials should be stored well out of the children’s reach.
  • The centre will provide somewhere safe for staff to store personal items away from the children. In particular, it is essential that handbags and personal items are not taken into the nursery. Staff need to ensure that they do not have personal items in their pockets when entering the nursery.
  • Staff will ensure that any medicines they bring with them to the nursery are stored in a safe place and that any headache tablets etc. are not carried around in their pockets. Any emergency medication that staff may need can be kept in the room but must be stored safely and out of children’s reach. The manager must be made aware and a risk assessment completed.
  • All staff must wear shoes suitable for working safely. Refer to the uniform/appearance guidance for more details on footwear.
  • Tea/coffee and other hot drinks must never be consumed in, or carried through, childcare areas.

Toys and Equipment:

  • Toys should be bought from reputable dealers and checked that they are sturdy and well put together. Warnings and safety messages should be read and staff should ensure that play activities and equipment are used only by children of an appropriate age or stage of development. Staff responsible for the purchasing of children’s play equipment should ensure that they are well made and constructed from non-toxic materials. The Lion Mark and the CE Mark are recognised safety markings. The equipment should be checked regularly and damaged items should either be repaired or thrown away.
  • Ensure that all equipment and furniture is installed correctly and maintained adequately. Adults must know how to use the equipment correctly and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. They should take responsibility for teaching the children how to use the equipment correctly and supervising the use. If necessary, the number of children taking part in an activity at a particular time should be limited. All equipment used both indoors and outdoors should be checked regularly for safety and suitability.
  • It is essential that impact absorbing mats or surfaces be used beneath equipment from which children might fall such as climbing, balancing and agility equipment and slides. It is important to ensure that there is sufficient surfacing to cover all areas where children might fall.

Fire Prevention:

  • All staff play an important role in the event of a fire. They must take responsibility for getting themselves and the children out of the building safely. All staff should make sure they are aware of the evacuation procedure and exits/meeting point.
  • Upon discovering a fire the alarm must be raised. This is the responsibility of any adult in the building that discovers the fire.
  • Portable heaters must not be used in areas where children are present
  • Remove items with faulty plugs and leads and report them.
  • All soft furnishings should be fire retardant and must continue to comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations, 1988.
  • Fire exits and other doors should be free of obstructions on both sides.
  • Fire extinguishers should be checked annually and the date of inspection recorded. Staff should know where the fire extinguishers are kept and how to use them.
  • Fire drills should be held on a regular basis. A fire log recording fire drills is kept in the main office. All students and regular volunteers should be advised what to do in case of a fire or other emergency.
  • All available staff should go into the nursery to support taking out the children
  • Registers and evacuation bags should be taken when evacuating the building
  • Fire officers will check through the building where it is safe to ensure that everyone has evacuated
  • Clearly written instructions for fire drills and how to summon the fire brigade must be posted around the building.

Staffing for Safety:

When there are children on the premises there should always be a minimum of two workers present. It is essential that the staffing ratios as set out in the Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements (found in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage) are adhered to –

0 - 2 year olds 1:3
2 - 3 year olds 1:4
3 - 5 year olds 1:8

Whilst in our care children should be supervised at all times. Staff will be deployed within the nursery to ensure that they meet the staff:child ratios and qualifications/experience will also be taken into consideration. The environment is set up to ensure that all areas of the nursery can be supervised and children can be seen at all times. Some activities will be monitored closer than others, for example climbing equipment and water play will always have close supervision and staff support where as other activities may be available for children to access more independently. Staff will use their knowledge and experience to decide on the level of supervision needed for each activity based on children’s individual needs and stages of development. Staff should always assess the risk of an activity before carrying it out for example if there are not enough staff in the room to safely supervise free flow indoor/outdoor play then this should not be offered at this time.

Arrivals and Departures:

All of the nurseries/centres operate an electronically operated door entry system for the security of its users. It is important that parents/carers take their child into nursery and “hand over” their child to a member of staff when they arrive. The child’s arrival time will then be entered into the attendance register for safety reasons. When children leave the nursery, their leaving time is recorded signed by staff. Childcare staff complete regular headcounts and record this so that everyone is aware of how many children are in the room at any one time. Staff must be informed in advance if someone other than the parent/carer will be collecting the child from nursery (if this is someone that collects of a regular basis and we are aware of this arrangement it may not be necessary to inform us each time). Only adults who are named on the consent form in the child’s record are able to collect children from nursery. If we have not met this person before the nursery and/or reception staff will ask for the password or some form of ID to confirm who they are. If we have not been informed of them coming then were will ring and confirm with the parent/carer. Once we know the person on the consent form we will not need to ask them for the password or ID again. In an emergency the parent/carer may give verbal consent for a person not on the consent to collect (this will be one off consent unless they add them to the consent form). The parent/carer will need to inform the nursery of the person’s name and give them the password. If someone arrives to collect the child who is not on the consent and the parents/carers haven’t informed the nursery they will not be allowed to collect the child until this has been confirmed with the parent/carer. Only the person with parental responsibility can consent to someone collecting their child. No one under the age of 16 can collect nursery children

If a parent/carer fails to collect their child from nursery/ASC, every attempt should be made to locate them. We will begin to contact parents/carers if the child has not been collected within 10 minutes of the session finishing. If this is unsuccessful, staff should contact the “emergency contact numbers” on the child’s collection/consent form. We will continue to try and make contact for up to 30 minutes after the session finish time (more time may be given if necessary in the middle of the day if the child can be cared for whilst we wait). If contact is made and an arrangement is agreed then a senior member of staff and one other should wait with the child until they are collected. If it is not possible to arrange for any collection, the senior member of staff on site will contact Social Care. When parents/carers are on the premises, before “handing over” their child or after collecting their child, they are responsible for their child. This includes ensuring their safety and managing their behaviour.

Lost or Missing Children:

Should a child become lost or missing, the following action will be taken: The Childcare Services Manager and Project Director will be alerted and given details of when and where the child was last seen. Staff should ensure the safety of the remaining children with regard to appropriate supervision and security. One, or preferably, two members of staff should search the premises, building or area in the immediate vicinity. If a child cannot be found within five minutes, the police and parents will be informed by the Childcare Services Manager or Project Director. Meanwhile staff will continue to search. When the situation has been resolved, the Childcare Services Manager and Project Director will investigate the incident, which will be reported to OFSTED, (Office for Standards in Education) To minimise the risk of children going missing staff should be vigilant at all times by doing regular headcounts, maintaining clear registers and ensuring that the environment remains secure.

Safe Conduct on Outings:

We are committed to incorporating visits to the children’s activities to enhance their knowledge and understanding of the immediate and wider environment. Visits should be available to all children and should be organised accordingly. Particular consideration should be given, especially when selecting venues and organising transport, to any children with sensory impairment, physical disabilities or additional needs. In order to ensure safety on outing the following adult:child ratio should be adhered to: The general rule is:

0 -  3 year olds    1:2  
3 -  5 year olds    1:3  
5 -  8 year olds    1:5  

In case of any outdoor activity, a member of staff will have made a preliminary visit to the venue. This visit is essential for safety reasons and is an opportunity to carry out a risk assessment in order to cater for any eventuality. All staff who are responsible for taking children on outing should make sure that they are aware of the risks and what should be done to prevent or minimize risks by reading the risk assessment. If transport by coach or minibus is to be involved, the organiser will check that the vehicle(s) and the operators comply with the statutory requirements and with any other requirements laid down by OFSTED or Greenfields. For emergencies staff should always take a centre phone and contact details and also a first aid kit. Regular headcounts must take place and with larger groups each member of staff should be responsible for a small group to make headcounts more manageable. Permission should be gained from parents/carers prior to taking the children out of the centre. For outings in the local community parent/carers will be asked to give blanket consent at induction. For all other trips which are further away from the centre and may require transport further signed consent will be gained.

Collection and Transportation of Children:

When collecting and delivering children from local schools as part of Greenfields after school club and wrap around care program, the following procedures are observed:

  • No staff members collect children alone.
  • Staff members always have a Centre mobile telephone with them. We aim to use quiet routes at all times and encourage children to walk sensibly and away from the roadside.

If a child is booked into the After School Club and is not waiting when staff arrive at the school, they will enquire at the school office and in the child’s classroom. If they are unable to locate the child they must contact Greenfields and the parents will be contacted immediately.

Recording of Incidents:

Certain incidents may take place which staff feel should be recorded. These include any incident outside the usual childcare operation which is considered to be significant.
Examples:

  • Confrontation between staff or confrontation with parent
  • Items lost or stolen (staff/parents/children)
  • Unauthorised persons in the centre
  • Extreme behaviour involving a child you consider to be unusual or out of character
  • Observation of unacceptable practice

When such an incident occurs, an Incident Form (GF/C/20) will be completed and passed to the Childcare Services Manager who will decide if any further action should be taken.

Teaching Children about Safety:

Children will be taught about safety and protecting themselves at every opportunity during their time at nursery. Staff will take into consideration children’s level of understanding and their stage of development in order to encourage them to become independent and keep themselves safe. As children get older it is important for them to understand why they should or should not do something in order to make safe choices in the future. Age appropriate explanations will be incorporated into activities to give them practical examples. During their time at nursery children will be encouraged to take risks and solve challenges for themselves to encourage independence and progress in development. Childcare staff will ensure that this can take place in a safe environment and with adequate supervision and support. However when learning to be independent children may hurt themselves or others. This is not the desired outcome and will be managed in a way that risk is minimized.