• Every child is an individual – with different needs depending on their age and abilities. You must think about this when planning activities.
• Some children have specific needs such as sensory impairments.
• The different needs of families and careers must be considered.
• Always be clear about why you are using the environment in question, the activities a child encounters and what sort of services are offered.
• The duty of care of a setting to children, parents and careers is a legal obligation. You should always have the child’s safety and welfare in the front of your mind when planning.
• The desired outcomes for the children are the starting point. Most activities with children should have clear aims and objectives that are based around the required outcomes linked to their age.
• Lines of responsibility and accountability are down to everyone that is employed in a setting , responsibility for the health and safety of children and staff are down to all employers and there should be clear reporting responsibilities.
Any setting should have clear policies and procedures about all aspects of health and safety. All rooms and equipment used by children should have regular checks to ensure that everything is working well and is safe. Some of these checks are required by law ie. Electrical equipment must be checked by a qualified electrician every year.
Managers should make sure that health and safety checks are carried out as required. In the case of an accident, failure to check equipment could have serious implications.
It is important that visitors follow safety guidelines to protect children in the setting.
People who work there will be given instructions and training on health and safety. But how can a manager of a care setting make sure that parents, careers or work people know about health and safety requirements?
The information that they will need depends on several factors-
• How long they are at the setting
• Which areas of the setting they have access to
• There role and responsibilities
• Contact with the children at the setting.
The setting should have copies of all the latest legislation and guidance as well as their own policies and procedures. The internet is a very good source of information, here are some websites about health and safety –
• Health and safety executive, www.hse.gov.uk/
• Child accident prevention trust, www.capt.org.uk/
• Department of education, www.education.gov.uk
The most important legislation in the UK is the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. Since 2008 this sits alongside health and safety legislation and covers every aspect of the welfare of children which includes –
• Suitable people
• Suitable premises and equipment
There are differences in the exact application of health and safety legislation in each of the countries in the UK. It is important that you familiarise yourself with the framework in your own country. You should be aware of the following-
• Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
• Product safety marking
• Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts)(Amendment) Regulations 2006
• Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002
• Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 1995
• Childcare Act 2006 – this sets out the statutary framework for assessment of settings, including health and safety in EYFS in force from Sept 2008
• Smoking Ban – UK wide in indoor public places from 1st July 2007 (EYFS includes a legal requirement to ensure children are always in a smoke-free environment)
• Food Hygiene legislation 2006