Support Children and Young People’s Health and Safety
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1) When planning for young people you need to take several factors into account to make sure the environment and services are safe. The first factor is the individual needs, ages and abilities of the children and young people. This requires you to work out staff to children ratio’s to make sure there is legally enough staff for the number of children present and to ensure all children will have supervision. Ratio numbers will vary depending on the age of the children. You should also make sure that the environment both inside and outside caters for all different abilities, making sure there are not steps up to any entrances or doors in and around the setting, that clear walk ways can be seen through the setting to avoid any accidents and to meet the needs of any children with any disability. Children of different abilities may require one to one time with a member of staff to ensure they are always safe, for example in my setting a child has visual impairment which means he has a trained member of staff to support him whilst he is in the setting.
Another factor you need to consider is specific risks to individuals such as pregnancy or impairments. My setting has a child with mild autism, a child with visual impairments and is registered as blind and another child who has a disability which leaves him unable to complete tasks on his own, such as walking or standing up. We have a member of staff who comes in specifically to support each child individually; their ability is very low and may be a risk to not only themselves but other children. If put in a situation where this member of staff is absent and we still need to meet the needs of this child then all other staff at my setting have been given basic training on supporting these children, so we are aware of the best way to do this.
This ensures the safety of the child in question and the other children in the setting. When planning indoor and outdoor environments you also need to take into account the needs of carers when relevant. Some of the children may have carers who are less bodily able and are in a wheelchair, or who may have another sort of mental/physical disability. This means you will need to plan the environment to be flexible for them, for example the use of ramps and accessible toilets. A carer may also for personal reasons not be able to pick the child up at the allocated time that the setting has set, therefore flexibility is needed to come to a solution.
3) There are many sources of guidance for planning healthy and safe environments and services. This includes: HSE – Health and Safety Executives
Department for education
A workplaces own policies and procedures
Health and Safety at Work Act
The Care Standards Act
4) Health and safety risk assessments need to be monitored and reviewed regularly once the risk is controlled to an acceptable level to insure they are always providing the most amount of protection, as that is the reason they are in place. By monitoring and reviewing risk assessments you’ll be able to see if there are any further actions you could or should be taking to improve upon the current control measures in place. It is the management’s duty to monitor and review the risk assessments in place. Monitoring the situation is a continuous assessment of what has been implemented whereas reviewing the situation is an annual assessment of the effectiveness of your actions (or if any circumstances have changed). To monitor risk assessments you should record down your findings (by law you must record down findings if there is more than 5 members of staff) by for example using a checklist when carrying out daily checks, in order to insure that the control measures are in place.
If the control measures in place are having the desired effect, (minimal accidents or injuries) then you should keep monitoring the situation until your set review date. On this set review date, if the control measures that are currently in place are still adequate then you should continue to use these but any new control measures that will improve upon the current ones is always beneficial. However, if by monitoring the situation you are made aware of the control measures not having the desired effect, (still an unsatisfactory amount of injuries and accidents occurring) then you should review the situation immediately. By reviewing the situation you will look at the current control measures and implement new and improved control measures which will hopefully reduce the risk, lower the accident and injury rate and therefore improve upon the situation. A review must also take place if any circumstances change. This can include new equipment, changes to policies or legislation, investigation into an accident or the result of an inspection.
1) Risk management in children and young peoples health and safety is the process of identifying the hazard which has the potential to cause harm to the child in question, evaluating the risk/likelyhood that harm will occour as a result, estimating the severity of the consequences and then putting control measures into place to reduce the risk of potential harm. It is important to have a balanced approach to risk management because it is vital for children to build upon their experiences, try new things and be able to push themselves to new limits but with their health and safety still being the priority. If you are implementing one extreme of risk management this can cause problems to arise. If a care facility were to take risk management to the extreme of all activities being safe with no risk involved, the child will not develop their own physical abilities but also their own knowledge about taking risks and won’t become familiar with taking responsibility for their safety.
They need to become aware that some of their actions may result in them being hurt and through a child having an accident or hurting themselves they are not only gaining direct experience of consequences of their chosen actions and choices but they’re also starting to understand what they are capable of doing and not doing. It’s also important for them to be pushed to new limits when at a care setting because the child’s parents may for different reasons not do this while they are at home. They may worry that their child will get hurt easily; that an activity has too much risk for them to be exposed to or simply not have the time to spend with the child doing certain activities, therefore stopping them from doing so and stopping the child from developing new skills and having new experiences. Although exposing children to some risk whilst at a care setting is important, the other extreme of too much risk can be the basis of many more serious injuries. A child still needs to be safe and a care setting should be specifically designed for the child to be exposed to risk whilst at the same time keeping them safe from serious and unintentional harm.
If a child was repeatedly having accidents or injuries whilst at a care setting, a parent would not feel comfortable about leaving their child there and would feel that the setting itself isn’t suitable for the needs of a young child. When carrying out risk assessment you also need to take into account the ages of the children who it applies to and their needs and abilities. The younger the child/children are then they are more at risk of having an accident due to their limited knowledge of possible hazards. This doesn’t mean you should always over risk assess because of their age but you should be more cautious about the risks that there are. Children will be at different levels of ability so you should As a conclusion, it’s important to get the balance right of exposing them to risk whilst keeping them safe as you should always support the development of the child whilst making sure that no serious harm is going to happen to them.
2) Working with children or young people means you are responsible to an extent for their health and safety. Children and young people have the right to and should be encouraged to make their own decisions and choices. Although you should support their choices, as a practitioner you have a duty of care for them as well and sometimes a child or young person may not have yet developed judgment skills and therefore may not be making the best choices. For example, a child may have made a choice in the playground to try and ride a bike with no previous practice.
Although you should support them in wanting to develop their physical skills, it’s likely that they’re going to fall off as they’ve had no practice before and this could result in injury. To resolve this you could suggest that they start off riding on a bike with stabilisers so they can develop their balancing skills until they’re ready to progress to a bike with no stabilisers and adult supervision. This highlights an occasion where the child has been given the right to make their own choice however health and safety requirements and your duty of care means you’ve taken action to avoid any possible harm coming to the child.