Childminder Guides > Early Years Safety Blog > Staying updated about Children's Safety in the Early Years

Staying updated about Children's Safety in the Early Years

Keeping children safe in the early years


Early years providers have a duty of care to keep children as safe as reasonably practicable.

New risks and hazards regularly appear online and we often see them in Ofsted inspection reports, where inspectors have noted a hazard in the early years setting that was not risk assessed fully.


Some of the concerns that come up regularly in Ofsted inspection reports include –

First aid: the provider does not have an up to date, 12 hour, Ofsted approved paediatric first aid certificate. Check the date on your certificate and note the renewal date in your diary. it is usually best to book a few months in advance – note that gold members receive a discount with Tigerlily –


Blind cords - information from The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) raises concerns about blind cords. The website states, ‘Our ongoing research into the risks posed by blind cords highlights just how quickly and easily young children can be accidentally strangled or hanged.’ A childminder was found to have hanging blind cords in her children’s bedrooms – although she argued that children did not use the upstairs of her house, this was found to be incorrect as she did not have a downstairs stair gate.


Safe sleep: following the death of a baby in an early years setting due to unsafe sleep practices, this is an area that will be of focus during Ofsted inspections. Providers must ensure that spaces are safe, bedding is clean and fresh, babies and children are closely monitored (visually checked).


Eating safety: following the death of a child in a nursery setting due to choking, this is an area that is focused on during inspection. The Dept for Education were looking to update the wording in the statutory framework to include a requirement for staff to be in visual (face to face) contact with children while eating and a childminder was criticised recently for turning her back on eating children for a few moments while being observed by the Ofsted inspector.


Online safety: while providers talk to older children about safety online, Ofsted find that they often do not give online safety messages to the little ones when they, for example, read from a tablet or look something up on a computer. Saying a simple statement such as, ‘We must be safe online’ will help the children to learn about online safety from an early age. Books such as ‘Chicken Clicking’ by Jeanne Willis will also help to share the messages with children and can be read at home by parents.



Safe recruitment: there are procedures that must be followed by childminders when taking on a staff member. These include following safe recruitment procedures and ensuring an Ofsted ‘home based’ DBS is received and the Ofsted ‘new adults in the home’ form is completed – and Ofsted send out a suitability letter for the staff member - before they are left unsupervised with or put in ratio with the children.


Magnets: small magnets might be ingested by children and can cause intestinal blockages. In our early years setting we talk about magnet safety and work with the children to count them out and back into the box again, so they learn to understand the dangers from an early age. While we are keen to support children’s free choice, we do not allow children free access to magnets.


Plastic bags: all plastic including nappy bags must be considered as part of the risk assessment because they are used in day-to-day life. They are often kept in the playroom and a childminder’s outing bag and must be out of reach of children to ensure they do not put bags over their faces and cause asphyxiation. In some cases, Ofsted inspectors have also commented in some inspection reports that children’s toys were stored in plastic bags – this is unsafe practice.


Road safety: an Ofsted inspector went with the childminder and children to collect some older children from school. One of the early years children ran into the road – the childminder said it happened because she was flustered with the inspector joining her and she did not put the child’s usual reins on them before leaving the house. Children cannot be expected to recognise dangers on roads until they are much older.


Pets: an Ofsted inspector felt that a childminder’s pets were dangerous to the children. In this case, the childminder had 2 dogs who used the garden so there was evidence of faeces and they urinated in places where children were playing. They also jumped up at the inspector when she first arrived. Think through your risk assessment if you do have pets and consider how you keep children and visitors safe.


Fire practices: in a recent childminder Ofsted inspection, the provider told the inspector that she did regular fire practices with the children. When the inspector questioned the children, they could not tell her how they get out of the house in case of fire. Now this could be because children freeze when asked questions by a visitor – but if you are going to say you are doing something during inspection, you need the evidence to back it up.


You will find recently updated information in the sample health and safety policy which is free for all members –  


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