Identifying and Implementing Health and Safety

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This discussion is on three significant practices that promote health and safety in early childhood centres. I will explain the role of an early childhood teacher identifying and implementing health and safety in the centre according to the Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood and Care Centre 2008.

“When parents enroll their children in a program, they expect them to be safe” (Marotz, Cross & Rush, 2005, p 193). The early years of children comprise of major growth changes, these changes will at some point in time place the child in a vulnerable situation. Educators need to be vigilant in removing hazards before they become major risks. Hazards will vary across the different development ages of children and educators need to be aware of these risks (Ministry of Health 1997). Hazards should also be reported and addressed immediately, for example, playground equipment should meet safety requirements and continuously maintained (MoE 1998).

Poisons, such as cleaning chemicals and medicines are common in early childhood setting, “all cleaning agents, medicines, poisons and other hazardous materials at the centre are inaccessible to children”. Part 3, section 24(p) of the Education (Early childhood centres) regulation 1998. Educators must ensure that cleaning chemicals and medicines are stored away in a locked cupboard out of children’s reach and if possible children should not have access into the kitchen. By preventing children from accessing the kitchen will also reduce the risk of burns and scalds should the oven be in use.

Educators should remove any plant that may be poisonous: keeping a list of poisonous plants in the centre will enable teachers to identify the poisonous plants.

Parents/whānau and caregivers may request the centre staff to administer medication to their child, it is recommended that a medicine register be completed by the parent/whānau and caregiver giving permission to administer the medication. The register should be signed by the...
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