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Health And Safety - Paperclips


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Yesterday we used homemade clip boards - paper clipped onto a bit of cardboard with a paper clip. We had a very small number of children with a very high number of staff. They were on the mark making table which was supervised as the scissors were also out.

 

However, the paperclips could present a serious risk to health.

 

What do other people think about the seriousness of the risk/ lack of judgement?

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What do other people think about the seriousness of the risk/ lack of judgement?

I'm not sure about this one! We don't use paperclips - we tend to use the mini bulldog types because we find them easier for the children to use themselves. I guess 99 times out of ten you'll have no problem, but there is the chance that one child might slip one unto their mouth. However, I do believe that children need to use real-life resources and be taught how to use them responsibly. You say the children we were supervised, so I wouldn't necessarily see it as a lack of judgement, because high level of supervision would cancel out as much of the risk as you can ever do where children are concerned!

 

How old are the children - that might make a difference to my views!

 

Maz

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So has someone complained about it? You almost had a 1:1 ratio and I imagine if the children were 'only' using the clipboards they were probably more interested in what they were writing than the paperclips themselves!

 

Maz

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My manager feels it was a huge breach of H and S and wasn't interested when I tried to explain about the numbers - she just felt that if a child swallowed one it would kill them.

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Well I don't know about that - when my brother was a lad he swallowed two pins (dressmaking type) and he was alive and well when I saw him yesterday (he's 50!).

 

Is your manager taking any kind of action other than making sure children arent allowed to use paperclips in future?

 

Maz

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I think your manager is over-reacting.I have paperclips in my children's workbox, they cart it around and use whatever is in there with, quite honestly, very little supervision. 'could have killed them'.......how, exactly??? highly unlikely to choke on them; they wouldn't impair breathing due to their design and very unlikely to get stuck in their gut, would almost certainly pass through.My youngest daughter swallowed coins a couple of times and I had the sheer and utter joy of having to check her poo for the inevitable tinkle of money! I'm not sure I recall the second one ever coming out, but she seems fit and well as we speak, some 23 or 4 years later. I guess if it's causing a real old hoooo harrr then just get rid and go back to little bulldog clips, but of course they'll endanger little fingers with their great big SNAP!!! poor you!

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Another setting here with free access to paper clips in mark making area, creative area DT areas maths area and investigation area for 3-5 year olds.

 

almost forgot they are great in the fine motor area too

Edited by Marion
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Ours too - and children enjoy staplers and hole punches and bull-dog clips and we've even used paper fasteners before now!

 

 

I bet you even allow them scissors...

 

 

We once had a visit from a Y6 teacher (part of his NPHQ required experience of other KS) and he got very concerned and removed all the whisks from the water tray because he felt the blades were a real danger... xD:o

Edited by Marion
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I bet you even allow them scissors...

 

hehe, and we have a few junior hacksaws too, and lots of balsa wood and bits of trees for chopping, oh and hammer and tap! :o

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Another paper clip user here. I really can't see how a paper clip could kill a child.

 

I know that button batteries can be lethal, multiple magnets can cause bits of gut to stick together and solid objects of the right size can block a child's airway but paper clips? How?

 

Is not the right time to confess that I suggested that the baby room staff removed the retractable metal tape measure from their heuristic play box. The babies were pulling the tape in and out really quickly and I was worried that the quite sharp edge moving so fast could cause quite serious cut. The staff removed it and then replaced it after I'd gone. Was I being as bad as the paper-clip lady?

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Was I being as bad as the paper-clip lady?

I've had a nasty cut from a metal retractable tape measure - you know in that incredibly tender bit of skin between the thumb and the index finger.. ouch!

 

It would be easy to make light of lolo's manager's concerns about the paperclips, but I wonder if something is making this manager ultra cautious? We had two children at our setting fracture limbs in two completely different and unrelated accidents. This was the term before last and I am still on occasion struggling with myself not to see a potential accident where I should see children playing actively.

 

I wouldn't be getting too het up about someone not wanting to allow children access to paperclips, however. Sometimes you have to lose a battle to win the war!

 

Maz

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Oh my goodness, we have a tray of them with magnets which the children love!

 

Must confess, I hadn't thought of this being a problem. I will certainly reflect on this issue with staff, and possibly monitor their use more closely, but I don't think it will change our practice of using them.

 

Just to reiterate what Maz said, it is a very hard job being a Manager, with such responsibility. With that in mind, and depending on your relationship, are you able to reflect on this issue as staff team in an open and supportive way?

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In 30 years I have never known a child injure themselves with a paperclip, or swallow one ( well not that I have seen anyway!) I am sure the play value of the clipboards more than outweigh the minimal risk - so maybe you need to go back to your Manager and ask either for proper clipboards, or as others have suggested some small bulldog clips, that way it's a win-win situation all round. :o

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I wouldn't put a metal retractable tape measure in a box for very young children either as they can be very sharp ad spring back at speed. I think as in all these things some level of common sense needs to be used which I'm afraid seems to be lacking (especially in schools- speaking as a teacher)

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As Marion says....some level of common sense has to be used. We've always used paperclips and those bulldog clips that can sometimes bite you back. Our children also use staplers and hole punches.

 

We are on the grounds of a primary school and recently the Reception teachers went on an outdoor learning course. They now have an outdoor fire where children can toast things on sticks (very long sticks!) or garden using secaturs (sp?). I must admit to my teeth being on edge when I think of children and secaturs.......very much supervised I hasten to add!

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My first reaction was - WHAT! :o

 

I have paperclips freely available on my mark-making table........they often 'travel' round the room too!

 

Noticed that you said there was a high level of supervision because 'the scissors were out too'........this implies that scissors are not freely available......I have scissors 'all over the place' - mark-making, creative area, playdough table.....

 

I do agree that it can be a tough job to be a manager - I am an owner/manager so the buck stops with me!

 

I have small clipboards from a pound shop - love to see my 'builders' or whatever walking around the setting making very important notes! xD

 

So I say yay to paperclips, free access to scissors, clipboards, hole punches.........my children do use staplers, but that is closely supervised! :(

 

Do come back and let us if you are able to discuss this with your manager - really hope that you can! :(

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So I say yay to paperclips,

I'm just remembering the sheer mindless joy of making paperclip chains - very good as a stress reliever. However they also provide a good way of measuring things - somehow knowing how big my waist is in paperclips is much better than knowing what it is in inches! :o

 

Maz

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