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Nanny leaving child in car


Thumper
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Hello

 

We have a parent who has employed a nanny over the last couple of weeks.

 

The Nanny keeps leaving the younger child (1yr) in the car at drop off and collection time, the car cannot be seen from the setting and it's about a minute walk away if your rushing.

 

When we've suggested she should be doing this she always replies "mum does it"

 

Your advice would be gratefully received :)

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I know you've said its a minute walk, but is it a nursery car park? I would maybe suggest that you highlight in your next newsletter that for the health and safety of the children, they should not be left unattended on any nursery premises. This includes the car park as well as inside the nursery building? If parents choose the ignore this then make it clear that nursery will not be held responsible for any incidents. If the car is not left on nursery property then I'm not sure what you could do, other than try and appeal to the parents better nature (rather than the nanny's).

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I would be quite straight with her and say that if you become aware of it happening again, you will call the Police for advice. In fact, blow that, just 999 it and get them to come out. I don't care if 'mum does it', in my book that makes mum an idiot too. Children are the single most precious thing we will ever have in our lives.................who would want to live with the knowledge that we alone were responsible for harm coming to that child, due to our negligence?? Not me, that's for sure.

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We all make mistakes where our children are concerned, and maybe it can be said that we're idiots in respect of some decisions we make. However when we do something as a parent we alone will have to take the likely consequences of that action. As a professional child care practitioner, I believe she should be making decisions in the best interests of the children she cares for and not merely copying what the child's parent does because it makes for an easier life.

I would hope that having challenged her about this, she would change her approach. If she isn't prepared to do that and you think there is a genuine potential safeguarding issue with regard to this child's health and wellbeing you have two choices: make a referral to Social Care/NSPCC, or as narnia suggests, call the Police to report an unattended child. Chances are that by the time the Police arrive, she'll have got back to her car and will be long gone.

I would certainly be asking her every time she arrives alone where the child is. If she says she has left the child in the care, repeat the advice and make a note on an incident report. You might also ask the nanny to sign the form to confirm that you've had the conversation. Firstly, this might concentrate her mind somewhat. Then, when it comes to making a referral of whatever kind, you'll have evidence to show how many times over a particular period this nanny has behaved in this way.

Thing is though, leaving a small child only once is enough for something bad to happen - it is a huge risk. I would certainly be ringing the local Social Services duty social worker for advice as to how to proceed.

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Thing is though, leaving a small child only once is enough for something bad to happen - it is a huge risk. I would certainly be ringing the local Social Services duty social worker for advice as to how to proceed.

I would be doing this.......TODAY

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I, too would speak to the parents first and ensure that they are aware she is doing it. If they are I would ask them to sign an incident report to confirm that this is happening with their full knowledge and consent.

When the nanny says that mum does it, I wonder if mum does exactly this or perhaps leaves the little one in the car within sight, perhaps outside the house or at a petrol station.

I would then explain to the parents and to the nanny that I felt that this practise was putting the child at significant risk of harm and , if I became aware that it had happened again, would have no alternative than to contact SS.

This is quite close to my heart as a friend of mine used to leave her baby sleeping in her car on the drive most days. One day she was at a friend's house and her friend noticed a little swirl of smoke coming out from the front wheel arch of the car. By the time my friend got out there, the fire had taken hold and she couldn't even rescue the childrens' car seats. Luckily her baby was in the house. My latest Ofsted report was on the passenger seat and that went up in flames too.

Leaving children in locked cars out of sight is seen as reasonable by a lot of parents and many will say that a toddler is at more risk of running into a road if brought with the nanny than being burned alive, etc if left behind. I don't agree but this may be how these parents think, especially if the child is asleep and they don't want a nap disturbed.

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ok sorry going to buck the trend at the mo!...dont think it's got anything to do with you.

 

This is an interesting point of view, but if the OP has concerns about the child's welfare and safety then she does have options to take action as any member of the public would. Of course we're not sure if she does have real concerns or if she's just thinking out loud at this stage.

To a certain extent I kind of agree with you - if it is happening off site then maybe technically it is none of the setting's business. However. Imagine if a child died in the circumstances that Upsy describes, and it came out that the nursery knew it was the nanny's custom to leave the child unattended in a car out of sight some distance away from the nursery, but didn't challenge her over it. That's why I think many people would take action.

I had a parent who lived across the road from the nursery - she would leave her baby asleep at home and bring the baby monitor so she could hear her. I did speak to her about my concerns. Had she carried on doing it afterwards, I'm not sure what I would have done. Fortunately she saw exactly what I was worried about and together we made arrangements for how we would handle it if her baby fell asleep at pick up time.

I think, on balance, I'd at least speak to the parents to check if they were ok with this practice. Whether I'd go as far as to inform social care or call the Police, I can't actually say. However for a concerned nursery practitioner or member of the public, those are both options available.

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Understand where Fm and Upsy are 'coming from' - perhaps my reaction was a little OTT - think that i am just so 'tired' of 'people' putting precious young lives at risk :(

I feel the same, Sunnyday. Sadly, I think lots of other people think differently, especially those who don't know anyone whose car has spontaneously combusted.

 

I have my doubts about whether SS would take any action. So may people think it's acceptable to leave children in cars that I have a feeling they may say it's a judgement call.

 

I hate it and, if anyone who visits me wants to leave their child in their car, I insist that they pull the car right up to the front door and we sit in the hall where we can see it.

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Thanks for your advice everyone.

 

I spoke to the Nanny again today and pointed out (very gently) that the car cannot be seen and is not on the preschool grounds. What would happen if the child what sick and choking whilst she was away for those few minutes......

 

She said she hadn't thought about it like that and won't do it again.

 

I will keep an eye out though!

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ok sorry going to buck the trend at the mo!...dont think it's got anything to do with you.

The safety of a child is paramount and it is everybody's business - we ALL have a duty of care. Personally I would make a call to the parent as a matter of urgency and if not happy with the result then social services should be the next port of call.

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I had a similar incident when a mum left baby in her car and I told her I was concerned. She went back but could not unlock it! Panic ensued!

Luckily amongst the crowd that gathered, an off duty fireman helped push the window down enough for me to squeeze my arm through and unlock the door from inside, with baby screaming loudly! (Very bruised arm!)

If it had been a hot day I dread to think what would have happened as this took 3/4 hour.

That is one person who will never leave a child in a car again, thank goodness.

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