Last month, Britain experienced a heatwave which saw temperatures soar to 34.5 °C in some parts of the country. The Met Office said that we experienced the hottest day in June for 40 years, and it was the first time the mercury hit 30°C or over on five consecutive days in June since 1995!
With school holidays just around the corner and (hopefully) more beautiful summer weather in store, we thought we’d go through the safety and wellness issues that need to be considered when temperatures start climbing.
- Limiting sun exposure
The sun is at its strongest between 11am and 3pm, so it’s best to avoid going out for extended periods of time during these peak hours. If children are playing outdoors when it’s hot, there should be plenty of shaded areas where they can rest and cool down.
- Gearing up to go in the sun
Clothing is an effective line of defence against the sun’s harmful rays, and it can protect our skin by absorbing or blocking radiation. The more surface area clothing covers, the more effectively it can do this.
The head and neck area can be particularly vulnerable to sun exposure, so a wide-brimmed hat (3 inches or greater, according to The Skin Cancer Foundation) or one with a long flap at the back is ideal for protecting children’s skin.
- Lathering up with lotion
Applying sunscreen is another important measure to avoid the risk of sunburn. The product should protect against the sun’s UVA (short wave) and UVB (long wave) rays. Most brands of children’s sun cream are hypoallergenic but it’s worth checking that the brand you use is, as it can help reduce skin irritation.
If children are moving in and out of paddling pools or running around and sweating, it’s also important to reapply the lotion on a regular basis.
- Safe water play
Young children can drown in less than 2 inches (6 centimetres) of water and the Fire Brigade website states that most drownings occur between the months of May and August. So, whilst engaging in water play is a great way to cool children down, it’s important to remain vigilant and supervise them at all times.
Last month, our guest blogger Tamsin Grimmer gave us lots of fantastic ideas for fun water play.
- Tackling allergies
Allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as hay fever, tends to be most prevalent in spring, but it can persist well into summer. Hay fever occurs when the body reacts to allergens in the atmosphere, such as pollen spores. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis include runny noses, watery or itchy eyes and sneezing. There should be an agreement with parents as to what course of action will be taken to manage their child’s allergies.
Another possible danger to look out for is that presented by stinging insects. Most times, stings are painful but harmless but in some cases children can have a severe reaction which leads to anaphylactic shock. It’s worth updating your records with parents over the summer so staff know which children are at risk.
- Staying hydrated
When the temperature starts rising, it’s more important than ever for everyone to stay hydrated. Rather than just drinking water, there are plenty of fruit and vegetables with high water content which can be added to mealtimes to keep children hydrated in the hotter weather. These foods can be kept in the fridge or freezer to keep them cool before being consumed:
- Water melon
- Grapes (cut lengthwise)
With sun-filled days approaching, there is clearly lots to consider when keeping children happy, healthy and safe at your setting. Taking some of the steps highlighted above will help lessen some of the risks associated with summer, and help everyone have a much more enjoyable time whilst making the most of the sunshine.
What do you do to keep children at your setting cool during hot days? Let us know by emailing email@example.com with your suggestions.
Ensuring the safety of those in your care is any nursery’s number one priority. Parents need to be able to trust that you’re physically able to look after their children as well as being able to keep personal data secure. So, we’ve put together a few ideas that can help you improve the security at your setting.
Use ID badges
Branded ID badges are a perfect way to visually recognise who is allowed to be in your nursery. It also means that you can easily identify who is a visitor and who works at the nursery, and so can parents or other visitors. They also convey professionalism to parents, who will feel happier knowing that you’re working hard to create a safer environment for their children.
Ensure two people open and close
There should always be two people opening and closing your nursery – this is for the safety of your staff as well as your setting. The key holders should always be members of management or senior staff and all keys should be kept track of and returned when people leave your setting.
Keep the gate/doors shut
Leaving a gate or door open is an invitation for strangers to get in and children to get out. Put up signs for parents and visitors to ensure they shut them securely again when they enter or leave the premises.
Consider using an intercom system
It can be difficult to keep track of those coming in and out of your nursery, especially when you’re busy doing lots of other jobs. You could consider installing an intercom system so that you can identify a visitor before they even come in the building.
Keeping data safe
It is becoming increasingly hard to keep your data as secure as possible. Using nursery management software such as Abacus will help keep your data safe because it is operated on a system which is similar to online banking. Compared to paper-based data, online records are much harder to lose or steal.
Ensuring that you’re taking adequate steps to ensure the safety and security of the children within your setting is paramount; helping to put yours and parents’ minds at rest. With some of the worry taken away, this will enable you to focus on spending more quality time with the children.
The words “hazard” and “risk” are often thought to mean the same thing. But in fact, they are completely different! A hazard is anything that can cause harm to a child. A risk is the chance of harm being done to that child, including the likelihood and the extent of harm.
For example, a bottle of bleach is a hazard, but the risk it poses to the child who might drink it is minimal if the bottle is kept locked in a cupboard and out of reach.
Childcarers should regularly carry out risk assessments to make sure they have considered every hazard that children could come into contact with. Where there is an element of risk which cannot be removed from the child’s environment, every effort should be made to reduce the risk this poses to the child.
Even the most innocent- seeming household items can cause harm to babies and toddlers. This was shown when, in August 2012, a 22 month old girl choked to death on a raw jelly cube. Tiya Chauhan fell unconscious and stopped breathing at the Dicky Birds nursery in south London, while she was involved in a game to explore touch.
Staff rushed to administer CPR when they realised what had happened, and an ambulance was called. Tiya was taken to St George’s Hospital in a critical condition but sadly died later that day. An investigation was opened after the coroner sought an explanation as to how a baby was able to put a jelly cube in her mouth.
This tragedy illustrates why risk assessment is so important when it comes to making sure your setting is a safe environment for children to explore and play. Whilst practitioners cannot be expected to wrap children in cotton wool all the time (and certainly, it is beneficial for children’s development to explore new experiences with an element of risk), you must take steps to identify and manage the hazards that are specific to your setting.