The health and safety of the general public, employees and all stakeholders within any setting should be at the forefront of thought for any forward thinking organisation.
Such industries as mining and construction hold WHS (Work Health & Safety) as paramount in all processes and procedures, for as the saying goes - ‘safety never takes a holiday’ - but what about the childcare industry?
It goes without saying that keeping children of all ages safe and healthy is one of the most important tasks of any childcare provider, but what is Health and Safety in Childcare? And why is it so important for your early learning community?
Childcare providers are responsible for ensuring the safety of all people who attend their service, both inside and outside. From your educators to your tiny tots, your cleaners to your parents, a healthy and safe childcare centre ensures the optimum early learning environment for both your children to grow and your communities to thrive. There’s a lot of people both tiny and large to look out for, and so many procedures to follow, so where does your centre start?
Your childcare centre’s health and safety can be broken down into 12 core focus’:
1. Car Safety
Does your centre offer a bus service for excursions and transport? What safety systems does your transport vehicle have in place for accidents and rogue children? Does your transport vehicle have appropriate seat belts and/or child car seats?
2. Cleaning, Sanitising and Disinfecting
What are some child-safe cleaning agents to use in your centre? What is the difference between sanitising and disinfecting your childcare settings? How often should you be cleaning your childcare’s toys and surfaces?
To learn more about the importance of sanitary procedures to minimise the spread of disease at your centre, take our free online training course here. To view our extensive range of eco and child friendly cleaning products, visit the cleaning products page on our website.
3. Dental Health
Promoting good oral hygiene begins in early childhood. How should children learn to brush their teeth? How can your centre prevent baby bottle tooth decay at it’s service?
4. Diapering and Toilet Training
Diapering and going to the toilet are two of the biggest culprits in the spread of nasty germs at your service. Childcare providers need to know the right way to change diapers and appropriate ways to help children use the toilet in order to greatly reduce the spread of illness at your service. Regular hand washing and hand sanitising is a non-negotiable and is explored in greater detail through our short, online infectious disease course.
5. First Aid
Bumps, bruises and scrapes come with the territory in childcare settings, but is your service appropriately equipped to deal with both minor and major injuries of all shapes and sizes? From first aid kit locations to CPR training, our consultants can help ensure your centre is equipped and prepared for the worst (while always hoping for the best!)
6. Food Safety
Food selection, storage and appropriately cleaned food stations are just the tip of the iceberg for Health and Safety in Childcare. Everything from the quality of the product to the temperature it is served at can be a potential hazard to the safety of your centre’s children and families.
7. Hand Washing
Washing hands carefully and thoroughly can help both your children and educators prevent the spread of germs that cause illness at your centre. Thorough hand washing can remove as much as 90 percent of the virus-containing particles and bacteria on your skin. Learn more about the importance of regular and detailed hand washing here.
Allergies, asthma and illness are just a few of the conditions that your centre’s educators will need to be prepared and confident to administer medications for. Does your centre understand each child’s medical needs, when to administer medications and in what dosage?
9. Outdoor Safety
Children love to play outdoors, but this is arguably the setting that holds the greatest Health and Safety risks for children physically. Do your balance bikes and tricycles require children to wear helmets? Do you cover your outdoor sandpits in the evenings or check them in the mornings before opening?
Having a classroom pet to watch and touch can hold great benefits for children attending your centre. Children can learn responsibility by caring for a pet and may enjoy watching animals play and eat, but having a pet in your childcare service takes careful thought and planning for the Health and Safety of your children.
11. Indoor Play
Are your corners and shelves appropriately padded for clumsy running toddlers? Do you have blind spots in your centre where a child can go unseen? Our expert consultants can examine your centre from the inside out, ensuring your learning hubs are fit and safe for your little people.
12. Toy Safety
From age appropriateness to choking hazards, ensuring your centre is using non-hazardous and child-safe toys is paramount. The Help2Group can help with your choice in childcare toy provider and ensure your learning materials are up to scratch!
While this article has simplified Health and Safety in Childcare down to 12 basic groups, the bigger picture is much more complicated and sometimes overwhelming for services. At the Help2Group, our Childcare Health & Safety focus means we are equipped to view your centre through the eyes of a parent, child, educator and auditor, to strengthen your centre's community health.
Get in contact with us today for a no-obligation consultation regarding your childcare centre’s Health & Safety requirements, or call us now on 0423 529 779 for a friendly chat about your services unique requirements.