Children have a habit of falling over and hurting themselves wherever they are. No matter how careful you are about safety and risk assessment, they will always find a way to fall headlong into the water tray, trip over absolutely anything and walk into things that don’t even exist.
Children do not have accidents individually – accidents come in at least twos or threes or, on a really spectacular day, all 26 children at once in a huge pile up.
Their reactions to accident and damage vary widely. Some children will continue playing happily with a broken leg, two fractured arms and a split lip that requires deep stitching.
Others may react in what would be considered a reasonable way to accidents and pain, with slight moaning or crying or requests for a plaster, etc. However you will have none of them in your setting so let’s move on.
The other kind of child acts as though they have been slowly murdered at least 10 times over if they get so much as the slightest scratch or graze. Their initial scream is very loud, penetrating and endless and has been known to set dogs and wolves howling within a 20 mile radius. The slightest bump or brush on another child or items of furniture will result in a deafening wail which, if not responded to immediately, will continue getting louder and louder until someone finally takes notice.
Once the child has been in the setting for some time staff will know by the degree of scream whether or not they can safely continue with whatever they are doing for a further 10 minutes before having to investigate.
Staff will have an accident book and need to fill in details of any accidents that occur. Our entries include things like ‘voluntarily stuck pencil up nose, pencil removed, child comforted and observed’. Or ‘was trying to paint the outdoor playhouse roof when fell into plastic goldfish bowl, removed from bowl, wet bits dried, comforted and observed’. Apart from comforting and observing there is little else staff can do. Unless they have a Parrot Head.
Parrot Head arrived in our setting about 2 years ago. A father of one of our children is a paramedic and he kindly brought his ambulance to the setting for the children to investigate. He then gave the children a small teddy bear, given to children who have to go into hospital without a parent to comfort them. The bear was very sweet, the children were delighted and it was used regularly. However we couldn’t understand why it was called Parrot Head.
Finally, one day, I asked about its name. Our parent was totally bemused by the name Parrot Head, he told us the bear was a ‘ParaTed’ (paramedical teddy)