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Recording minor concerns about children.....


Rosebud123
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The other day a staff member was assisting a young child with their clothing when they noticed 3 faint small round bruises near their bottom. They called myself over automatically saying they look like finger marks which yes it could have been but you cannot jump to conclusions. I asked my manager to inspect them and she was unsure saying it could be a smack mark or could be something else and again we shouldn't jump to conclusions. We have no real concerns about the child, Anyway she said she would record it just on a piece of paper and file it somewhere in case a picture emerges. When I spoke to another manager from another setting they said they would have filled it in an incident form and got the parent to sign and obviously write down any comments that they make. She said the parent may have smacked the child and went to far.

The thing is this could be a sensitive issue as could it offend or anger the parent if we informed them. Plus there is the whole smack debate where some parents do and others don't. How would you approach this???

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We record any marks noticed on a child in odd places, and discuss with parent as soon as we can, either at the end of the day, or if someone else collects the next morning. Not accusing or anything but just, in a private place, 'we noticed that nnnn had some bruises on her bottom and wondered how she got them?'.

This can open up all sorts of responses but usually leads to a discussion about different ways of disciplining children if necessary.

In this country smacking is not illegal, but leaving a mark is, so we always record and discuss as a minimum.

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Do your parents complete Existing Injury forms - I find this is a simple effective way of dealing with situations on these occasions. A child comes in, has had some kind of accident while out of our care, parents are now used to filling out our form. In the event, let us say, I have the child you describe and no injury form completed I would find it easy to approach the parent and say..... oh we noticed that ....... had some bruises on their bottom when we were changing them - were you aware of them? We are worried that they may have been caused here as you haven't filled in a form - I would then be wanting a plausible answer from the parent. We would also record this incident in our safeguarding file. Each child has a page, and any member of staff can add any comment made by a child on it, date it etc. and we can see then if patterns are emerging, but by different members of staff - but they are collected in one place.

 

How "fresh" were the marks - recently made or bruising discolouring after some time? They could obviously have tripped over and landed on something - if there has never been any other concern, not wishing to be over zealous on this occasion recording the marks could be acceptable, but so much better to have recorded the concern and talked to the parent in a non-threatening way about them. "Oh, I noticed some bruising on............... I don't think it happened here, were you aware of them?

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I think some staff members are cautious as we have had a parent who informed us of an incident so we recorded it on an incident sheet but they refused to sign it and basically took huge offence shouting and balling and then taking their child out of the setting. They couldn t understand why we had to record every incident even though they had previously signed them. We also have children who are quite clumsy one in particular who is covered in bruises it would be impossible to record them all and knowing that hr falls a lot explains the bruises. It's a very difficult and sensitive situation I feel although I understand why we do it. I don't think I could explain a lot of the bruises on my child if I was asked unless it were their face or head.

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Same as above we have existing injuries forms, I would have used one of these and spoke with parent on collection. We log existing injuries against each child's file and and patterns are looked at each month when we go through accident/incident/existing injury log any concerns are then logged in safeguarding.

Our existing injuries have date/time/who was present/where it happened and a body map on.

Parents soon come familiar with them and are found to be hanging around at start of session to fill them out, even if they fall in walk to pre school and get a graze it's logged X

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You shouldn't be recording concerns about a child, even minor ones, without informing the parents. They deserve the opportunity to explain the injuries and, if they have left a mark by smacking the child, they need to know that they have done so, it has been observed and it is now on record.

Fears about upsetting parents or of them removing the child from the setting must be put to one side at times like this unless telling the parent would put the child at risk of significant harm.

Does your setting have a safeguarding policy that covers this situation?

Edited by Upsy Daisy
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We too use existing injury forms and parents are willing to request one to inform us on drop off , a couple need reminding .

 

We have a safeguarding log and you are allowed to note concerns without always speaking to the parent depending on what it is , obviously best to approach parent where possible but sometimes it may be you want to keep record of non attendance after following a call to parent/ guardian, or something a child may have said behaviour wise.

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why didn't anyone ask the parents what had happened? it may be that there is a very reasonable explanation. or maybe the parent needs help. Although parents are 'allowed' to smack that does not mean we should support it...it should always be challenged. Can we help the parent with behaviour methods

You don't say how old the child is but if it was a very young child I would be really concerned if they had been smacked......what for????

of course when you've had a chat with parents they should be told that you are making a note of the conversation,

We tend to have these chats privately but with two of us in the room

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