How to ensure suitability of equipment for children

6 June 2017

Providers must take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of children, staff and others on the premises In the case of fire or ny other emergency, and must have an emergency evacuation procedure, Providers must have appropriate fire detection and control equipment (for example, fire alarms, smoke detectors, and fire extinguishers) which is in working order. Fire exits must be clearly Identifiable, and fire doors must be free of obstruction and easily opened from the inside.

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In order to comply with the suitability and the safety of equipment for children in a childcare setting and to adhere to the guidelines set out by Ofsted the best way to ascertain these factors is to refer to the types of symbols that appear on children’s oys & equipment. The following symbols and an overview of what they mean are outlined below; 1) The CE mark Is a mandatory conformity and has been In effect since 1990 In the ‘Of3 European Union (ELI) market. The EN71 toy safety standard test is similar to the ASTM F963.

The toys comply with the essential requirements of the relevant European health, safety and environmental protection legislation. All toys that carry this mark are phthalate free and a strict limit of lead content has to be met. The 0-3 symbol needs to be added to CE mark, if there are small parts or other characteristic hat are unsuitable for children less than 3 years. Examples of where this symbol would be found would mainly be on children’s toys. 2) The Lion in the Triangle is a symbol of safety and quality, backed by a Code of Practice and developed by the British Toy & Hobby Association (BTHA) in 1988.

Toys bearing the Lion Mark have been made to the highest standards currently in force in Britain and the European Community (BS 5665/BS EN 71). It is a symbol of toy safety and quality for the consumer. The Lion Mark indicates that the toy has been made by a member of the British Toy & Hobby Association and therefore denotes the member’s commitment to adhere to the BTHA Code of Practice which includes rules covering ethical and safe manufacture of toys, a ban on any counterfeit goods, an assurance to market responsibly, a commitment to improving sustainability and a desire to promote the value of all play.

Unlike the CE Mark, therefore, the Lion Mark is truly a consumer symbol. It means that consumers can be assured that a toy which bears the Lion Mark has been made by a member who believes in making good quality, safe toys. Examples of where this symbol would be found would mainly be on children’s toys. 3) The British Standards Institution (BSI) is responsible for awarding the Kite mark symbol to all kinds of products, services and processes – but whilst the logo is highly recognisable, few toy consumers really know what it means.

The BSI describes the Kite mark as “the world’s premier symbol of trust, integrity and quality”. The little black and white Kite mark logo which is made up of the letters “B” and “S” is awarded to all kinds of products (not Just toys) following intensive, independent testing at the BSI Product Services HQ in Hemel Hempstead. First introduced in 1903, the Kite mark is the best known and respected mark of quality in the I-JK, and has been regularly voted as a ‘UK Business Super brand’.

Considered a sign of reliability and safety, the British Standards Kite mark can actually be a key differentiator between one company and the next. The voluntary scheme is often entered by companies that wish to reassure their customers that they have satisfied the most rigorous of quality processes. In the case of nursery and outdoor play equipment, it can actually be very armful to not have the Kite mark symbol displayed on your products since this is an entry-level requirement for many local authorities when sourcing these products. ) The crossed-out Waste Bin symbol can be found on batteries and toys using batteries. From September 26, 2008 every battery or product using batteries must be marked with the crossed-out wheeled waste bin symbol. In addition, a marking with the chemical symbol (Hg, Cd, Pb) is required for batteries containing more than O, 0005% mercury (Hg), more than cadmium (Cd) and/or more than lead (Pb). This type of mark would generally be found on toys using batteries.

Other age suggestions on toys and games are for guidance only usually when you are purchasing for a certain age group- they do NOT advise on the safety of the contents. BS numbers are often printed onto equipment and furniture to show that they are approved to British Safety Standards. These cover a wide range of equipment from glass in coffee tables to DVD players to nursery furniture. Suitable websites such as baby mattresses online have a useful and concise listing of relevant BS numbers for nursery items.

Obviously, it is important to remember in a home based childcare setting that not nly is it important to ensure that equipment is suitable for children , it is equally important that a procedure is put in place to ensure the continued safety & suitability of such equipment. The most effective way to ensure this would be to; Carry out regular risk assessments on each room/area Have a daily on-going checklist Have a toy/age suitability list in place All of the above would be deemed as good practice in a childcare setting and evidence of such would be adequate in satisfying Ofsteds standards with regards to provision of equipment.

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