Having a staffed nursery available during your worship times is a great benefit for anyone who attends your church, as it allows parents and other congregation members to have a focused worship and study time. However, it does open up some areas of liability for the church, in terms of worker and volunteer safety, as well as equipment and toy requirements. Read the following sections to find out if you're taking necessary precautions in your nursery.
Providing a watchful and attentive staff is imperative to making a nursery run well. As with any employee or volunteer, and especially those working with young children, a background check is strongly recommended prior to their working with children. In addition, these individuals also should be required to have six months of service at the church before they are allowed to be directly involved with or supervise children.
To learn more about proper screening procedures, review the Preventing Sexual Misconduct fact sheet.
Once you have the correct people in charge of the nursery, it's important you have the safest equipment available. There are many brands of nursery equipment (i.e. cribs, changing tables and cradles) on the market, and oftentimes, generous members will donate their gently used items to help cut down on costs. While both of these are good options, they each come with possible hazards. They can be used incorrectly, be poorly designed, or deteriorate over time. With donated equipment especially, many of the items will come without the manufacturers' paperwork, making it that much harder for the equipment to be used according to the manufacturer's recommendations.
To read more about the different safety regulations for cradles, cribs, changing tables, pacifiers, gates and more, review the Daycare and Nursery Equipment Safety fact sheet.
The best part of having the children in the nursery is watching them enjoy themselves and play with the various toys available to them. Unfortunately, too many of these toys are made solely with the intent of providing entertainment, and safety is not considered. While the manufacturers may not be considering it, safety should always be the number one priority for whoever is selecting toys to stock your nursery, including both new and donated items. In addition, all toys currently in the nursery should periodically be inspected to make certain they remain safe for use by children.
For a list of items you should consider when selecting toys, including design, products, and size, read the Daycare and Nursery Toy Safety fact sheet.
Provide Peace of Mind
The safety of the children in your care is of the utmost importance. Parents need to feel secure that when they drop their child off into the care of those you have trusted to watch them that they will be safe and sound when it's time to pick them up. Help keep everyone's worship time free of worry by providing a safe and secure nursery environment.