Health and Safety
(Policy reviewed January to April 2012)
Management and teachers believe that providing a healthy and safe environment at Collectively Kids is essential to support children’s learning and development. A healthy and safe environment is created through policies, systems and checks, practices and routines as well as curriculum, all of which are reviewed on a regular basis (annually or more frequently if an issue arises). Collectively Kids aims to apply the Hauora model for health and well-being contained in the New Zealand Health and Physical Fitness Curriculum and the approach to health and safety at the centre encompasses social, environmental, physical and spiritual aspects.
The concept of well-being encompasses the physical, mental and emotional, social, and spiritual dimensions of health. This concept is recognised by the World Health Organisation.
Hauora is a Māori philosophy of health unique to New Zealand. It comprises taha tinana, taha hinengaro, taha whanau, and taha wairua.
Taha tinana - Physical well-being
the physical body, its growth, development, and ability to move, and ways of caring for it
Taha hinengaro - Mental and emotional well-being
coherent thinking processes, acknowledging and expressing thoughts and feelings and responding constructively
Taha whanau - Social well-being
family relationships, friendships, and other interpersonal relationships; feelings of belonging, compassion, and caring; and social support
Taha wairua - Spiritual well-being
the values and beliefs that determine the way people live, the search for meaning and purpose in life, and personal identity and self-awareness (For some individuals and communities, spiritual well- being is linked to a particular religion; for others, it is not.)
Each of these four dimensions of hauora influences and supports the others.
Dr Mason Durie's whare tapawha model compares hauora to the four walls of a whare, each wall representing a different dimension: taha wairua (the spiritual side); taha hinengaro (thoughts and feelings); taha tinana (the physical side); and taha whanau (family). All four dimensions are necessary for strength and symmetry. (Adapted from Mason Durie's Whaiora: Māori Health Development. Auckland: Oxford University Press, 1994, page 70).
Health and safety form a part of our curriculum as required by Te Whāriki, Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres and regulations. Curriculum/programme planning is also informed by any issues that have arisen at the centre or been raised by parents.
Children are encouraged to take part in maintaining a healthy and safe environment. They are made aware of the correct way to use and carry materials around the centre. They assist in tidying up and are encouraged to develop self-help skills - dressing, blowing noses, washing and drying hands, toileting. Children are reminded not to touch bodily fluids (blood, saliva, mucous, urine or faeces), especially when the fluid belongs to someone else. To promote personal safety correct vocabulary is provided for all body parts including genitals.
Teachers encourage children to assess risk and support children to challenge themselves physically and intellectually so that they are able to develop physical and social confidence as well as persistence and perseverance.
The centre provides an environment that ensures children’s emotional safety. The centre has guidelines for positive guidance as well as a bill as clear expectations about rights and responsibilities. Children are encouraged to voice their feelings, fears and any events that may have disturbed them at home and at the centre.
Routines are flexible to meet the health and safety needs of all children. Children are encouraged to move freely between the indoor and outdoor areas.
Cleaning and Hygiene
The centre is tidied by teachers as required throughout the day and in the evening and weekend by a cleaner (5 times a week). Cleaning schedules (daily, weekly and monthly) are in place to ensure that a high standard of hygiene and cleanliness for all equipment and areas is maintained. Indoor equipment is checked on a daily basis by indoor staff and any equipment that is dirty or has been 'mouthed' is put in the dishwasher or treated with a diluted bleach solution and rinsed. Laundry is washed on the premises and a hot wash is used for all nappies, soiled clothing, tea towels, dish cloths and flannels (90c). This meets AS/NZS4146 guidelines for soiled linen – nappies should be washed at either 71C for not less than 3 minutes plus mixing time or 65C for not less than 10 minutes plus mixing time. Notices for important hygiene practices (eg. nappy changing, hand washing, food safety) are displayed in relevant areas. Most teachers have completed food safety courses.
Hazard identification and management
Occupational Hazards are identified and controlled (eliminated or isolated). A hazard identification chart is displayed in the office and updated on a regular basis. OSH flowcharts (in Operation Manual) are followed.
Indoor equipment is checked on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Hazards that are identified are added to the hazards list and removed if possible or managed. It is the responsibility of teachers to inform management of any necessary maintenance and management must ensure that this is carried out promptly. A caretaker is available to undertake repairs. A playground assessment form (including poisonous plant checks) is completed (daily and monthly) and the person responsible for this is required to notify management of any concerns.
Outdoor teachers monitor the safety of outdoor equipment, rake sand, check the soft fall area on a daily basis and fill in a inspection record. A playground assessment form is completed once a month and the person responsible for this is required to notify management of any concerns. The sandpit is covered at the end of each day.
An annual health and safety check is completed and an action plan is written if required.
Emergency/evacuation policies and plans are in place and processes are checked (as required by legislation) by Fire International.
Any issues from monthly accident analysis are added to risk management/hazard identification plan.
Parents are requested to keep children who are ill at home. This is in the interests of the health of all children, family members and teachers at the centre. It is likely that children will become ill more frequently in their first year at childcare and parents must ensure that arrangements are made for the care of ill children.
Sometimes children seem fit and healthy at home but are not well enough to return to the centre where there is more noise and activity. It is suggested that parents check with their GP. Please note that we require a note from your doctor (when antibiotics/medicines are prescribed or when children have a rash) that the child is well enough to attend an early childhood centre and that the illness is not infectious. If the illness is contagious and easily passed on, parents must advise teachers and children should not return to the centre before a doctor has confirmed that there is no risk of infection.
Parents are requested to contact the centre on the day their child falls ill so that parents (particularly those of children or family members with low immunity) can be informed.
Exclusion due to Illness Policy:
Parents must make arrangements to ensure that someone is available to pick the child up without delay if they become unwell. Please ensure that you keep us informed of changes in contact details.
- Parents are expected to collect their child without delay if he/she is ill.
- If children develop a temperature (37-37.5C) that does not return to, and remain at a normal level (below 37C) after removal of clothing or cooling with a damp cloth, will be sent home. Children over two with a temperature above 37.5 C and children under two with a temperature of 37.3 C will be sent home immediately.
- Children (and staff) with diarrhoea, vomiting, and/or undiagnosed skin rash should never remain at the childcare centre (except for the time it takes parents to collect the child from the centre or to find a relieving teacher). Diarrhoea or loose stools present a particular risk, as even if the cause is not an infectious disease, it makes it difficult to maintain normal hygiene. Even micro-organisms (germs) normally present in the gut can cause health problems if consumed (e.g. passed into the mouth by contaminated hands or objects).
- While an ill child is waiting for parents to collect them from the centre, they will be made comfortable and kept as isolated as possible from other children and staff, and a staff member will remain with them at all times.
- To minimise risk, this staff member must not be involved with food preparation.
- In general, if children experience fever, vomiting and/or diarrhoea they should not attend the centre until 24 hours after all symptoms have stopped.
- Children and staff who are unwell should otherwise be excluded as per medical advice or current Auckland Regional Public Health Service recommendations.
- All cuts and sores will be covered, however if a cut or sore cannot be covered the child will be sent home. The child may return to the centre once the wound has healed or is able to be covered.
Isolation of sick children
If a child becomes unwell at the centre they will, whenever possible, be isolated from other children until they are picked up. Depending on circumstances (staff ratios and safety of all children at the centre) this will mean either resting on a stretcher bed, cot, covered couch or mattress in the office, in the over two sleep and play room (if this is not in use) or in the infant toddler room.
Washing sick or soiled children
There is a shub by the changing area and a shower in laundry. The most suitable area for the child in question will be chosen. Teachers wear gloves, remove and bag all soiled clothing. If the shub is being used it may be necessary to remove buckets and shelf and place these in the laundry. The child is washed and dressed. Shub/shower are cleaned and bleached. Any bodily fluids on surfaces (floors, chairs etc) are covered with a towel, wiped and bleached. Teachers ensure that children do not access these areas before cleaning is complete.
Allergies and Medical conditions
Specific plans may be written for individual children who have medical conditions in consultation with caregivers and specialist advisors. A list of allergies is displayed for teachers on the office, kitchen and food table noticeboards. A written policy governs the administration of medication at the centre. Teachers receive training for specific conditions as necessary. Records of such training will be kept in the medicine and incident folder.
Epidemics and Disease
In the case of an epidemic or outbreak of a contagious disease centre management will liaise with Public Health and follow Public Health procedure.
The centre maintains and regularly updates an Immunisation Register. Parents are advised in enrolment information of the centre's responsibility to maintain immunisation records.
Parents/whānau must let the centre know if their child has had a notifiable illness (you will be advised by your doctor if this is the case) or has a serious illness or condition.
Accidents, Emergencies and First Aid
Children are supervised in all areas and teachers intervene promptly to prevent injuries.
All accidents requiring first aid of any kind (from cold flannel to referral), are recorded in the accident folder by the teacher who witnessed the incident. In the case of a minor incident that does not require further action the child’s name will be highlighted in the roll and parents will be asked to read and sign the form when they pick up their child. If parents do not sign, the information will be emailed to them at the end of the day. Parents will be phoned regarding any incident, accident or illness requiring further action. In the case of a more serious accident (which may require further medical action) at least two staff members will confer immediately. Where appropriate, parents will be contacted and asked to collect their child for further treatment. In the case of an emergency a staff member will, if ratios allow, accompany the child to a Doctor, an emergency clinic or hospital, taking with them the child's enrolment form. Parents/whānau will be contacted as soon as possible. The accident folder is analysed once a month and action plans are written as necessary. Records of this process are kept in the incident and medicine folder.
Permanent teachers are responsible for administering First Aid. All permanent teachers at the centre are required to hold a current First Aid Certificate. The first aid box is kept in the kitchen and inaccessible to children. The box can be easily carried to the site of the accident and no first aid is administered in the kitchen. Smaller first aid kits (inaccessible to children) are available in the outdoor and under-two area as well as in the outings bag. All first aid kits are checked every three months.
Parents are requested to toilet their own children only. It is the responsibility of permanent staff to supervise the toilet and nappy changing area, toilet, change and dress children at the centre. These points are dealt with in more depth in the child protection policy.
Children are only to be taken from the centre by people specifically authorised to do so on the enrolment form. Written consent is needed from parents if someone else is picking the child up. If parents are unable to provide this, they must advise the centre by telephone. People picking up or dropping off children up must sign the child in and out on the daily register.
Centre policies linked to Health and Safety issues are:
Nutrition and Physical education
Bottle and feeding policy
Administration of medicines
Occupational Health and Safety and Hazards list
Emergency Procedures/ Evacuation plans
Positive Guidance (and conflict resolution guidelines)
Situations of shared care
A range of health and safety handouts are made available to parents