Sam Gyimah, childcare and education minister, has ordered a review of whether to introduce mandatory paediatric first aid training for all nursery employees, which could be enforced within months.
The review has been put forward after the death of a 9 month old baby back in October of 2012, when she choked on her meal. The supervisor’s first aid training had expired and another staff member who did have training was unable to save the tot.
An inquest returned a misadventure verdict, stating no one was to blame for what happened. However, with the incident in mind, Mr Gyimah wants a review to take place this month in the hope that existing laws can be amended before the May general election.
Current law requires that at least one staff member with a paediatric first aid training certificate must be present on site at any given time when children are present. This is the same when taking trips away from the setting.
When speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Mr Gyimah said that the death of a tot back in 2012 was a “wake up call” and that they needed to tighten the rules.
He said: “This is a tragic situation; this is a wake-up call.”
“This should not be happening in our nurseries and we have got to take this seriously and come up with solutions so this does not happen again.”
“We have got to get this review done as quickly as possible to be able to draw a line under this tragic case.”
“Every parent wants the confidence that those tasked with caring for their child are appropriately trained should the worst happen, that is why conducting this review and updating the guidance is critical.”
The review he has put forward will establish whether all staff should have the required training and whether this will be the responsibility of the nursery or the staff themselves to make sure these certificates are up to date.
The review could mean a change in law that would see the Early Years Foundation Stage framework updated; Mr Gyimah wants to correct the anomaly that requires childminders to have basic first aid training but not nursery staff.
A Department for Education spokesman said: “We are reviewing paediatric first aid requirements at nurseries.”
During a debate in the Commons, Mr Gyimah stated that the government had toughened current regulations but that: “On its own, a first aid certificate, which means that someone can tick the box to say that they have a first aid certificate, does not mean that that individual will be able to deliver first aid as and when an incident happens.”
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