Spot the hazard: a childcare safety checklist

child care safety checklist

Is your child safe? Does your daycare ensure children are protected from hazardous situations?

Childcare centres must ensure children’s health and safety is their number one priority. These spaces need to be regulated to safeguard children from harm and maximise their learning opportunities. It is essential that children experience, grow and learn through a safe and innovative environment. Everything from their play-areas to their nap-areas should be designed and assessed adequately to minimise risk and harm.

Employees and educators should maintain a working environment that is safe and free of risks securing children are in a situation where they can learn without any hindrances. Early childhood educators need to ensure the environments they are teaching in are rich in learning experiences and stimulating for young learners. To do so, they must follow specific rules and procedures.

Risk management process and safety checklist in childcare

Childcare centres must make sure they identify any risks within the environment and after that manage them appropriately.

The risk management process involves:

  1. Identify hazards in the workplace
  2. Assess the risks associated with the hazards
  3. Control the risks
  4. Monitor and review risk control

Managing risk in childcare involves any service where children and educators are present. Whether it is an early childhood service, a home-based service or even in public during activities or excursions. Childcare providers must have a safety checklist and identify their hazards.

Common hazards and risks in childcare

A hazard is a source of potential harm. These can come in many different forms. As a parent or guardian, a thorough look at your childcare providers settings can help in briefly identifying hazards which may seem potentially dangerous for your child. Here are some red flags to look out for:

Type Inclusions Examples
Physical Floors, steps, ladders, objects, slippery surfaces, lifting, carrying, working at low levels or moving objects.  This can cause back injuries and wrong movements. Bending, twisting or reaching. Slips trips and falls causing soft tissue or back injuries. Educators working on the floor near children can pose a risk. Squatting to their height and moving incorrectly.  Standing on chairs and tables while reaching for certain materials. 
Mechanical or electrical Machinery, equipment, washers, kitchen appliances These can be a combustion hazard. Frayed power cords or unplugged points can be an electrical hazard.
Chemical Substances, acids, poisons and cleaning agents Fire, explosions and poisoning. Any chemical bottles within reach of children. 
Biological Bacteria, viruses, mould, mildew, insects and animals This can cause cross-contamination and food poisoning. Children’s viruses are easily passed on. 
Psychosocial Workplace stress Bullying and harassment causing high levels of stress compromising children’s education. 

How to identify hazards in childcare centres?

  • Daily checks of indoor and outdoor areas
  • Reporting of any risks or accidents that may occur
  • Safety audits
  • Food safety plan
  • Infection control policy and procedures

Control or manage the risk

After identifying the hazards that may appear in childcare centres, the childcare provider needs to control and manage the risks. Some ways staff may control these risks include:

  • Eliminate: remove the hazard 
    • Remove clutter, tripping hazards and equipment that can cause injury
  • Modify: replace with something less dangerous 
    • Replace toxic chemicals with organic ones, any sharp objects with soft ones
  • Isolate: remove from contact with people
    • Lock away medication and other chemicals that they should not be in contact with
  • Plan: redesign equipment and use safety guards
    • Childproof locks, guards for power points etc.
  • Control: policies, procedures, training and supervision
    • Staff induction, WH&S training and food safety programs
  • Equipment: barriers between hazards and people
    • The use of gloves, hairnets, aprons, sunscreen and sun hats 

Childcare safety checklist for parents

Make sure the childcare your little one is attending is safe, nurturing and free from hazards. To help your childcare, you can provide them with relevant information and support their workplace health procedures.

  • Ensure you let educators know when you drop off and pick up your child to ensure the centre is ready and open 
  • Make sure to contact the centre regarding any absences and illnesses 
  • Inform the childcare if someone else will be dropping or picking up your child
  • Teach your child basic hygiene practices to ensure cleanliness is a two-way street 
  • Provide the centre with a list of any food allergies or concerns relating to your child 
  • Present a list of emergency contacts for your child

At Young Academics, we ensure your child is in reliable hands. This is achieved through extensive training and keeping up with the latest industry requirements. We know the critical role our early learning environments play in our day to day operations and ensure they are safe, inviting and invigorating. Do you want to know more? Contact our team on 1300 668 993!