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Injury To Child


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I didn't really know how to title this one. In 20 years of working with little ones this has never happened before so I'd welcome your thoughts!

 

A childminder came to collect a child from our preschool. She left a [childminded] baby outside, under the canopy,with its rain covers down, in its pushchair while she sorted out the other child. One of our very young children, unnoticed, crept under the pram and scratched the baby on the face. [it wasn't a slight scratch!] Staff became aware when other children said "[] is hurting that baby!"

 

As it was at a handover time staff were involved in discussions with parents etc, and we had a delivery. They hadn't been asked to keep an eye on the baby but feel bad that it happened.

 

Obviously we've documented the incident thoroughly but have no idea whether there will be any comeback from the parents. Who was responsible for the care of the baby at this point? My instinct is it was the childminder, but I'm not sure of my ground should there be any action taken against us.

 

Your wisdom is needed! Thanks!

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I didn't really know how to title this one. In 20 years of working with little ones this has never happened before so I'd welcome your thoughts!

 

A childminder came to collect a child from our preschool. She left a [childminded] baby outside, under the canopy,with its rain covers down, in its pushchair while she sorted out the other child. One of our very young children, unnoticed, crept under the pram and scratched the baby on the face. [it wasn't a slight scratch!] Staff became aware when other children said "[] is hurting that baby!"

 

As it was at a handover time staff were involved in discussions with parents etc, and we had a delivery. They hadn't been asked to keep an eye on the baby but feel bad that it happened.

 

Obviously we've documented the incident thoroughly but have no idea whether there will be any comeback from the parents. Who was responsible for the care of the baby at this point? My instinct is it was the childminder, but I'm not sure of my ground should there be any action taken against us.

 

Your wisdom is needed! Thanks!

 

Just wanted to offer my support - can't really advise you, but the only thing I can think of is that if things became legal - what solicitor would consider a scratch a good case? You have done what you should - documented, discussed and maybe consider an amendment to your action plan/policies so that you can ensure that the next newsletter states that all parents/carers are responsible for siblings whilst on the premises. These things do happen and you are certainly doing a good job! Good luck :o

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Hi,

 

The child who did the scratching - had they been handed over to a parent or were they still under your care at this point?

 

The baby is clearly the childminders responsibility and nothing to do with you.

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If both children had been handed over, then I would have said you should take no responsibility. However as the child who was doing the scratching was still in your care, then I think you need to re-address your home-time procedures and work out how this child managed to 'escape' unnoticed.

 

How soon would it have been before this child had been noticed as 'missing' and how far away could it have gone are some of the questions you need to ask yourself.

 

I agree that the child in the buggy was definately the responsibility of the childminder. We as practitioners can not be responsibile for younger siblings and childminders children.

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Sorry to hear that happened to you. We have enough to worry about without things like that happening. Try not to let it get you down. We have all had something go wrong at some point.

Jane

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What a difficult situation: you have my sympathies! Home time can be very difficult - so much going on.

 

What about the baby who was scratched? Does s/he also attend your group or were they only there with the childminder? My instinct is that the childminder was responsible for the baby, but as someone else said, your setting might want to review the home time routines.

 

I've just had a horrendous experience in my group, resulting in the parent making a complaint to Ofsted and I've had to look very closely at policies and procedures, and reflect on practice like a whirling dervish! So here's my advice, for what its worth. Make sure you've got a record of conversations with the childminder (and the parent of the child who did the scratching), and that they've signed something to confirm that you've told them of the details of the incident. Also, ensure your witness statements from staff are clear and show exactly what happened, and when. Then you can begin reviewing your procedures, and the relevant policies and make any changes you feel are necessary now rather than waiting for any complaint to be made.

 

If you get all this done and can show the parent/childminder that you have taken the incident very seriously and have looked honestly at your setting's practice, you will reassure them that you are committed to the safety and security of the children, and that you are always looking for ways to improve standards. The parents may well still complain: but you will already have done the work in investigating.

 

I am sure you are all very upset by what has happened: you will need to support each other very well so that when you have identified and made any changes necessary, you can put this behind you. You may well find that you're all a bit paranoid for a while: but you will get through it.

 

I hope the parents don't complain, and that Ofsted dont' get involved - let us know how things go, won't you?

 

Maz

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Oh, how tricky!

 

As a childminder, I know responsibility for the baby lies with the RCM but the setting is responsible for the other child.

 

Most parents understand that accidents happen, often one childminded child can hurt (accidentally or otherwise! xD ) another and parents appreciate it's all part of growing up and learning to be part of a group.

 

When more serious injuries occur parents often apologise in person or by a little note the next day.

 

I've had 2 of these - one scratched eye at a parent & toddler group. The group leader wrote a letter apologising and explaining how it happened and what they'd done to try to avoid future incidents. The parents were quite surprised & pleased they'd taken this step and were happy with the response.

 

The second was in my home and the parent of the child who'd injured another sent a card and gift with sincere apologies for the cut head received.

 

I document everything in my daily diaries to the parents and they sign my accident book. I also record if I signed the accident book at the other setting so we're all covered. :o

 

Hopefully the parents won't take it any further and if you explain, through the childminder, that you've reviewed what happened and whether any changes to procedure are necessary, they'll put it down to experience!

 

Nona

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Thank you for all your replies and kind comments and insight!

 

I have heard nothing further. Neither the child who scratched nor the childminder come today.

 

To clarify a few things - the scratcher did not in any way escape. The children were playing outside with the correct ratios being met comfortably, but one was supervising the gate and another was talking to a parent. The third was inside taking a child to the toilet. One of the staff was the Deputy Manager. There were fewer than 18 children aged from 2 years 4 months to 4+ years. As far as I can ascertain the incident happened in a split second .It may be that the staff had too many tasks - I shall certainly look into that. There were a few children round the pushchair including the scratcher. We're not even sure that the intent was malicious [not that that makes much difference] - the child might just have had a sharp nail.

 

Nona, I will certainly think about writing to the family. I think that's a good idea. The problem is that I may not see the childminder again until Tuesday & I don't want to take any action that might make things worse for her without talking to her first.

 

We have an incident from signed by the 'scratcher's ' mum. The Deputy Manager was the closest witness & she wrote up a thorough report so I think we're ok on that. It's just the childminder, who was clealry upset about it and left before I knew what had happened. I think I might give her a call. I should have her number on one of the children's records.

 

Will keep you posted. It's been a difficult day in some other areas, too [to do with funding] - one of those where I wonder soemtimes why I do this job -so your support is fantastic.

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Will keep you posted. It's been a difficult day in some other areas, too [to do with funding] - one of those where I wonder soemtimes why I do this job -so your support is fantastic.

That's the problem isn't it Weightman? If only the rest of life could go on hold whilst we deal with these situations it would be much more bearable. It sounds to me that you have all the bases covered, which does make a complaint less likely.

 

Good luck!

 

Maz

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You love the job because you love children (even the ones who scratch accidentally or not), you love the job because of the unique relationship you have with parents and carers too. :o

 

You seem to have followed good procedures in recording and reflecting on this event. As you have thought, I too would speak to the childminder first before considering sending a card to the baby's mother.

 

Keep in mind happymazs comment

 

quote:

I am sure you are all very upset by what has happened: you will need to support each other very well so that when you have identified and made any changes necessary, you can put this behind you.

 

Remember these things do happen, the baby got over it within minutes, I'm sure, so keep everything in perspective eh. xD

 

Peggy

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Remember these things do happen, the baby got over it within minutes, I'm sure, so keep everything in perspective eh. :o

I used to help run a parent and toddler group when Mrs Weasley was about two or three and vividly remember a mum coming into the group on her first day. She had a toddler of her own, plus a very small baby (we're talking weeks not months) in one of those first car seats with the handle that you can take out and carry around with you. Anyway, she plonked the baby in the car seat down amongst the toys in the baby area and went off to explore with her older child. A few minutes later the baby yelped and we turned to see a very guilty looking toddler who had just scratched the baby's eye quite badly.

 

Well all hell broke loose: the mother of the child who did the scratching was in tears as the mother of the baby turned on her (and those of us 'in charge') accusing her/us of negligence because her baby had been injured. It was truly awful, and needless to say we never saw the mum in the group again.

 

The thing is I see this mum in town from time to time and each time I see her my blood runs cold as I remember that awful situation. She clearly doesn't recognise me and the incident has obviously long since been purged from her memory. So as Peggy says: try and keep things in perspective - this too will pass!

 

Maz

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Thank you again, Peggy & HappyMaz. Really it's the other issues that are stressing me today.There's an issue around transfer of funding that's been unresolved at county leevl for over 8 weeks now & I feel well & truly stuck in the middle & going round in circles. That's another matter that I'd better not go into for confidentiality reasons.

 

I did telephone the childminder and am pleased to say I think we're about sorted. The baby's mum was ok about it, the scratch wasn't nearly as bad as she first thought, no question of scarring etc. We're going to talk again next week because she finds it difficult to attend to the needs of the child she's collecting and keep an eye on the 2 she's brought with her. I'm sure we can talk that one through and work together.

 

I am so relieved that the baby is all right!

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Oh, Weightman, I AM glad you and the childminder have spoken. She was probably very anxious about explaining to the parents etc and your supportive phone call has hopefully made her feel less alone.

 

We childminders often say how difficult pickup time can be. Lots going on, access problems with pushchairs (twin ones, especially!) & trying to listen to small peoples news all at the same time!

 

One setting had an arrangement with me that a member of staff brought the child out to me, either first or last, to avoid my pushchair & entourage clogging up the entrance! :o

 

Worked better for all of us - I always HATE having to leave tiny ones unattended or out of view - even for seconds - and sometimes it just can not be avioded, so any help offered by the setting is gratefully accepted!

 

Hope ALL your tricky situations are resolved soon.

 

Nona

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The trouble is, even with double the staff, at handover times life can be frantic, with talking to parents, answering the phone, taking a delivery, changing the child who's just wet themselves all whilst keeping 20 plates spinning on a stick!

 

Glad it all seems to be sorted now.

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Guest MaryEMac

Sorry to hear that this has happened. We changed the way that the children were collected a few years ago. The parents/carers used to come into the room to get their children ready to go home and we realised that with all the adults around it would be so easy for a little one to get outside. Therefore the parents/carers were asked to wait outside and we would get the children ready for home and only let them out of the door if we could see their parents/carers. This means that no other minded child has to be left on their own. Also we give the children time to try and put on their own coats and shoes. This works well for us.

 

Mary

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I think that something good can come out of an incident like this if we can use it to re-evaluate how we do things and to build stronger relationships. That's what I hope will happen here.

 

Thanks again for your support.

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