Childminders’ homes are generally very safe places because it is part of our job to ensure that we have risk-assessed and safety-proofed our homes. Unfortunately it is impossible to control everything and everyone in our homes at all times. Therefore it is important to teach young children what to do if they come across a situation or object that could cause an accident. Tiny Lego choke hazards end up in the babies’ crawl spaces, cleaning products get forgotten, friends without toddlers visit and put their mugs of tea on the coffee table or forget to shut stair gates behind them. Situations with the potential to cause accidents will happen to every childminder, no matter how vigilant you are, because it is impossible to control everything and everyone within your home environment.
Teaching older children how to help you will make your job easier. When older children come across a dangerous item, you want them to recognise it, know that it is not a toy, and know that you will reward them if they report the situation to you. If there is any risk in your house for example that a child will ever come across a lighter or matches, they need to recognise this item so that if they ever find one by mistake they know that it is dangerous. The same goes for scissors, knives, mugs of tea, trailing cables, slip hazards, laundry pouches (eye damage risk), cleaning products, open stair gates etc.
The key message you want to tell children is this: If you find a dangerous item, tell a grown up straight away. If you reward a child with lots of praise and encouragement they will take great delight in helping you to spot risks and help you to prevent accidents before they happen. Older children can be a helpful set of extra eyes!
One really important area of safety that childminders can be complacent about is fire safety. There is no point fitting smoke detectors if you don’t regularly test they are working. You also need to hold regular fire drills, at different times of the day and with different children present. In the event of your smoke alarm going off, you and every child needs to know what to do every time.
Out and about with young children you need to think about road safety and sun safety. It is also important to discuss with children what they should do if they ever find themselves lost. Stranger danger is another important consideration and this article has lots of practical tips for discussing strangers with young children.
Author Jo Keeling’s daughter, Isabelle, known as Izzy, was two when she managed to call an ambulance for her mother following a severe allergic reaction, otherwise known as anaphylactic shock. [more]
Nearly every childminder has a horror story to tell, an accident or a near miss story. [more]
Look carefully at this photograph of a typical childminding scene. There are six potential hazards to young children in this photo. Can you spot them, and do you know why they are dangerous? [more]
How much do you know about what you’re allowed to do and what you’re not allowed to do when you are taking childminded children on an outing to the woods? [more]
It is a statutory requirement that the childminded children are ‘within our sight or hearing at all times’. Never-the-less I don’t know a single childminder who hasn’t at some point found themselves in the frightening situation of losing a child. It is at these rare moments when childminded children find themselves alone that they may need to know what to do about the problem of strangers [more]
Unfortunately small children wander off. It’s one of the most terrifying aspects of being a childminder… so it is important to have a real set of procedures in place for both you and the child to know what to do if they find themselves lost. [more]
Do you have a poison childminding garden?
Do you know which of the six plants pictured here are poisonous? Article also contains some plants you may meet while you are out walking. [more]
Products that can help you with accident prevention
Printable safety and health art projects, activities and colouring pages to help childminders to teach 15 safety and health topics including bereavement, road safety, stranger danger, and sun safety and fire safety. Pack includes a section on making friends with activities and craft projects.
Members of the Forest Childcare Association make a commitment to taking children on weekly outdoor outings year round. It is a mark of quality of your setting, great for keeping children active and a great way to promote your business to parents. Pack includes guided risk assessments for outings in ‘wild’ places.
All the basic forms and policies you need to set up and run your childminding business. Concise policies, simple forms and printable basic childminding contract. Pack includes risk assessment forms and also a list of potential risks around your house.