Emergency contact information for children in early years provision

It is important that early years providers ensure information about children and their families is collected during induction and kept up-to-date and accurate. It is also important that providers can contact either parents or their nominated emergency contacts if there is a problem. Here are some scenarios for you to consider:

What would you do if a parent didn't arrive to collect their child?

If parents do not arrive to collect their child from you or if a child fails to arrive for their booked session, what do you do next? It is a requirement of the EYFS 2017 to have a procedure in place in case a child is not collected – this procedure should be part of your Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy and Procedures.

EYFS requirement 3.73: ‘Providers must make the following information available to parents and/or carers: procedure to be followed in the event of a parent and/or carer failing to collect a child at the appointed time.’

What would you do if a child failed to arrive?

It is a requirement of the Early Years Inspection handbook to promote, ‘prompt and regular attendance’ (point 157) - this will be inspected in the ‘Personal Development, Behaviour and Welfare’ section of the inspection.

It is also a requirement to monitor children’s attendance: ‘Although attendance at the setting is not mandatory, providers should be alert to patterns of absence that may indicate wider safeguarding concerns. Inspectors will explore how well providers work with parents to promote children’s good attendance, especially the attendance of children for whom the provider receives the early years pupil premium’ (point 160) and inspectors might ask you: ‘What would you do if a child failed to arrive?’

How would emergency services identify children if you are injured in your home or on an outing?

If you were injured in the house or on an outing and unable to speak for a childminded children, how would emergency services work out which child was which and who to contact for them?

In view of this recent article in Schools Week about a child who died partly because staff at his nursery did not have emergency contacts for anyone other than the child’s mother (and the mother had died) it is important to reflect on what emergency contact details you request from parents at induction and how regularly these details are updated and reviewed.

The article demonstrates the importance of having contact details in addition to parents – relatives or friends or, in extreme cases, the contact number for social services if you are unable to contact the child’s parents and other emergency contacts. This is also important in light of the recent terror attacks in Manchester and London.

Free Emergency Contact Information form and other childminding paperwork

The free Emergency Contact Information form on the Childcare.co.uk website has been updated (06.2017) to ensure it is compliant with the EYFS 2017 and the Early years Inspection handbook and to include latest good practice information in light of the serious case review noted above. Consideration must also be given to the recent terror attacks in Manchester and London and the importance of ensuring information about children and their families is kept up-to-date and accurate. 

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