A child-centric profession, whether it be based in a daycare centre or in a school, is a noble pursuit. A teacher, day care worker, or school administrator assumes a particular level of trust among parents, and are looked up to by children as role models.
If this is your line of work, perhaps you already know that the job demands more than what’s on paper. Beyond planning lessons or supervising playtime, day care and education professionals must spend their hours seeing to the health and safety of their wards.
You have a special duty to make sure that the children under your care don’t incur injuries or become vulnerable to illnesses.
The work may be easier, however, with a little extra preparation and a little conscientiousness on your part, as well as a fair dose of proactivity among the pupils themselves.
With that purpose in mind, here are 6 tips from Australia Wide First Aid on how to achieve safety, security, and good health in child care and educational settings.
As mandated by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA), most child care workers in the country are required to have advanced credentials in first aid, namely in the areas of asthma and anaphylaxis management.
It would do a newly minted child care worker well to enrol in a Child Care First Aid training course.
Formal first aid training not only includes learning specific techniques, it also includes new aspects of childcare and engagement with fellow professionals.
The investment will be well worth it; whatever you learn or re-learn in your first aid training course, you will be able to use to better keep your young wards—the foremost beneficiaries—safe.
It is also sound practice for school- and daycare centre-based professionals to keep several emergency kits on hand in the facility (one per floor, plus portable kits for sanctioned activities such as field trips).
Make it a habit to check such kits every week to see if restocking of bandages, ointments, medicines, clean water, and the like, is necessary.
Toys, books, or school supplies in disarray can become safety hazards, and consequently cause accidents among both children and adults.
Try to foster a culture of neatness and discipline among your colleagues and your wards to prevent this from happening. You want everyone to be mindful, replacing items they have taken off the shelves, keeping the facility’s tables tidy, and ensuring the floors are clean and obstructed.
Pathogenic micro-organisms are everywhere. As such, it is important to keep yourself and your wards safe by observing time-tested methods of keeping things clean and sanitised.
Encourage the children to wash their hands often, but especially before they eat or handle food.
Your day care facility or school should also make provisions for keeping kitchen utensils and surfaces clean and disinfected at all times. This will decrease the risks of contamination and infection.
Your eagle eyes for supervision should also extend to the outdoor spaces, such as the playground or sporting areas.
Warn children of all ages against rough play, jumping off ledges, or wandering too far from the line of vision of the adults.
If it is very hot outside, you may also assist them in applying sunscreen and putting on sun-protective clothing and accessories, such rash guards and caps.
Though school-aged children need to be at least 14 years old to complete first aid training themselves, a teacher or day care worker can instil a first aider’s sensibility in any of their wards.
You can teach younger children to keep themselves safe, and to call on adults to help them in cases of emergency, while older students can be tapped to assist in dressing wounds, administering simple treatments, or dialing Triple Zero during emergency situations.
Working in an educational setting may entail taking special care of others. But don’t forget to watch out for yourself as well as your wards.
A healthy body, mind, and soul allows you to share the best of yourself to the children in your care!
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