Safeguarding essential” as stated by Carolyn Meggit,

Safeguarding is the act of
keeping people safe, whether this be an early years or working environment. In
early years settings, practitioners should have clear knowledge of how to keep
their children safe, by making sure the environment has the correct supervision
and that there are no hazards of possible harm as these can put children at
risk, causing accidents and injuries.

One of the main ways to keep
children safe is to have reliable staff ratios. This means that the setting
should have enough adults to children. The ratio for nursery children is 1
adult to 8 children, however for under two’s it is 1 to 3. This is because
infants “have no awareness of danger and are therefore totally dependent on
their carers … therefore appropriate levels of supervision are essential” as
stated by Carolyn Meggit, in the CACHE Childcare & Education: Early Years
Educator textbook. If a setting does not follow these ratios there can be consequences,
including the danger of children and accusations. This supports the children’s
development as having more staff members than the needed ratio allows the
children to develop efficiently, as they have more 1 to 1 support and staff
will be able to communicate with parents and other practitioners to plan each individual’s
next steps for learning and development effectively due to more people, who
know the children well, contributing.

To keep the environment suitable,
practitioners should regularly inspect the setting for hazards. In 2006, Jane
Drake, a journalist stated “settings must make children’s
safety a priority and so should identify any potential hazards and take steps
to minimise risks … carrying out checks daily” Some of these potential hazards
can be: obstructive objects, possible choking hazards and unhygienic
surroundings. The main cause of most incidents is due to objects obstructing a
clear walking route. Children tend to use toys and leave them somewhere, in
plain sight, meaning other children and adults are at risk to falling from
them. This can then lead to injuries. Therefore it is required that every so
often, within the day, the setting is tidied so there is no danger. Choking
hazards are more common for children under 3, however it is still likely when
older than this, therefore it is essential that the setting supplies activities
and toys that are suitable to certain age groups. In addition to this, children
will still aim to put things in their mouth, as they learn through the taste
and texture, meaning it is important that the hygiene of the environment is
checked often as if an object is contaminated, children are likely to become
ill. The environment should not only be inspected on the inside, but on the
outside as well. This is due to possible animal waste that could be hidden
within sand trays; rain/dirty water in water trays that could make the children
ill, slippery surfaces which could cause accidents and unlocked gates which
could allow the children to leave the premises. These points collaboratively
help a child’s development as a child needs a safe and secure environment to
learn and explore within rather than being put at risk, therefore having
practitioners to provide no risks allows them to develop freely. For example,
having no obstructions enables the children to move as they physically want to
help them develop that skill.

The fire safety policy is a major
policy within safeguarding as it is based on what to do in the event of a
fire/evacuation. For this policy to be carried out efficiently, a setting needs
to have a designated fire conductor who makes sure everybody is out of the
building and at the correct fire point. Furthermore there needs to be clear and
visible signs as to where the escape routes are, either doors or stairwells, it
is also good to actively remind the children what the signs mean so in case of
the alarm going off they know what is happening. When following this policy
there is the routine of a fire drill. This routine is very important for the
safety of the children, as it allows them to understand what would happen in
the event of a real fire, and learn where they would have to go to keep
themselves safe, therefore having this as a common routine is beneficial to the
setting. In 2004, journalist, Mary Evans, said “The National
Daycare Standards say that early years settings should take the advice of their
local fire safety officer … and agree on the frequency of fire drills” to
prepare for the settings routine. Therefore suggesting that frequent fire
drills has been recommended by fire officers.

The child protection policy is a
policy that states to protect children from violence, neglect, exploitation and
abuse. Due to being in contact with the children daily, practitioners are able
to support the children quickly as they will notice any behaviour changes or
physical bruising. This allows them to deal with the situation, however there
may be further help needed from official partnerships. Settings also observe
the children to notice if anything is different, as some children may not show
much of a change until thoroughly looked into. For that reason, having this
policy is a key figure to safeguarding as it is one of the main procedures of
keeping children safe.

One routine that supports the
safeguarding of children is to have grouped seating areas for when the children
departure. This keeps the children safe as it allows the practitioners to see
who is picking the children up, meaning they are not likely to be picked up by
an unknown adult. If the children were to continue playing, whilst waiting to
be picked up, practitioners would not have a clear view of who were to collect
them as there would be children all around them to watch. A playgroup in
Slaithwaite, Yorkshire, states on their website “No child should be handed over
to anyone other than the persons named on the registration form unless a prior
arrangement has been made. A child should not be handed over to a parent /
carer who appears to be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.”
Therefore supporting the routine of gathering the children and closely watching
who picks them up.

John Bowlby, a psychoanalyst,
believed that from birth infants are designed to automatically build
attachments with their mothers. To explore this further, Bowlby conducted
research on animals by separating one animal from its mother and leaving one.
To his conclusion he found that the animals that were kept with their mothers
had greater chance at survival than those than didn’t. Furthermore, Bowlby had
also researched into the loss that infants would feel if they did not create
any type of bond, and the stability of forming relationships after separation
from attachment.  Therefore this links to
research of feral children, and the fact that if children are not supported by
others from infancy, there can be possible difficulties in learning and
development, affecting their future. On that account it is important that not
only parental figures make bonds with the children, but also their nursery
practitioners, this is because they support the child’s development but also
keep them safe, therefore if anything were to be happening outside of the
setting the practitioners may find out due to the children having trust in
them. On most occasions, the bond will be formed with each child’s ‘key
person’. The key person is a practitioner who is assigned a small group of
children to make them feel safe and secure; they also are designated to form bonds
with each child’s parent to regularly plan their child’s next steps. Therefore
due to the child’s parents having a bond with the practitioner, this may
encourage the children to also. From my perspective I have seen the trust of
children towards their key person, in a nursery of 3 teachers. If a child had
an issue or question they were more likely to go to their assigned
practitioner, or on the off chance the main teacher, which I assume they had
the closest bond with. 


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