Why is health and safety important in a childcare setting?
As a childcare provider – be it home-based care or in a childcare centre – you’re dealing with hugely important little people who need the nicest possible start in life. That means a fun, friendly, caring and, above all, a safe environment.
To the mums and dads reading this, you should expect nothing less than the highest health and safety standards from your childcare provider and there are workplace health and safety procedures in place to help make sure that happens.
To the childcare providers, be warned; mums and dads – not to mention the governing bodies monitoring your industry - are going to expect an awful lot from you in terms of reassurances that their child is safe in your hands, so be prepared.
But why exactly is health and safety important in a childcare setting? In a nutshell, because parents entrust the care of their children to you.
Here are the major reasons why a huge focus on health and safety is not just important but critical to successful childcare for all concerned.
1. Be prepared for accidents
If you’ve got a bunch of kids careering around inside and outside a childcare centre, there are going to be accidents. Being properly trained to deal with the bumps that go with having a bunch of hyperactive kids is crucial to childcare work. As is having a full and functional first aid kit. Make sure your centre has all the latest and greatest first aid equipment for dealing with boisterous kids quickly and effectively.
2. Maintain excellent hygiene
They lick things and stick them in their mouths; things we know they shouldn’t touch, lick or stick in their mouths, but they’re too young to know so they do it anyway.
If your childcare centre toys, utensils, bedding, linens, and surfaces are dirty, look out, you’re asking for trouble.
Wash and disinfect everything your childcare kids might touch before and after every single session. Don’t forget, kids might come to childcare with a mild sniffle not yet detected by parents, a sniffle that can turn into centre-wide flu if due care isn’t taken to keep everything sanitised.
3. Ensure hygienic food measures
Food poisoning is one of the biggest fears for parents leaving their kids in someone’s care. Put minds at rest with a professional approach to food storage and preparation.
4. Maintain clean, sanitary conditions
Breakdowns in correct toileting procedures are one of the biggest causes of germs in childcare centres.
Be it a nappy-based loo experience or a trip to the toilet for the older kids, everyone in your centre needs to be up to speed with both nappy changing technique and sanitation.
Effective, safe and immediate disposal of those nappies to a secure bin outside your facility will help to minimise health risks.
You need to be equally diligent with the older kids in ensuring toilet procedures are followed, be it hand washing or ensuring you leave a sanitary lavatory for the next visitor.
5. Car safety procedures
If your childcare operation offers to pick kids up and drop them home, you need to ensure that all cars involved are fitted with proper child seats for the young ones.
Same with field trips if such things are part of your program. Make sure every child is provided with the appropriate car safety requirements for their age.