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The following article is from SafeChurch and GuideOne Insurance.

 

Creating a Safe Environment for Children

One important aspect of a church ministry is providing a safe setting for the children. Between nurseries, daycares and playgrounds, there is a great need to offer this type of safe space. To help you, the risk management experts at SafeChurch have created a Child Safety for Nurseries, Daycares and Playgrounds training module. This training module includes a safety video, along with information on equipment and toy safety, daycare and nursery inspection, and playground safety. Create a safer environment for the children in your church by learning more about inspection and safety criteria, preventing sexual misconduct and the proper use of background checks.

Inspection and Safety Criteria

One of the most important steps to take toward maintaining child safety is to remove any dangers from their physical surroundings. Conducting inspections and using safe equipment and toys are critical in sustaining a secure environment.

  • Nursery Inspection – Nurseries are a convenient resource for parents. Inspections should be completed each week to identify potential hazards. Review how the room is set up and consider where equipment should be located to prevent injuries. Keep important items accessible but protected, such as first aid. Be sure to use outlet covers that cannot be easily removed by children. Additionally, keep wires and cords out of the children's reach.

  • Equipment Safety – There are many different types of equipment used within nurseries and daycares. It is critical to know the equipment of your facility is in good condition and won't present harm to children. Certain equipment to pay particular attention to include, but are not limited to, bassinets and cradles, changing tables, gates and closures, highchairs, pacifiers, playpens, strollers, toy chests and walkers.

  • Toy Safety – While toys are designed to entertain children, safety isn't always considered. When purchasing or accepting donated toys, look for anything that could present a hazard to any child who may use it. Also, be sure to inspect toys, as they can break and cause injury.

Preventing Sexual Misconduct

Sexual misconduct is a devastating situation that affects the victims as well as your church. Hopefully, your organization will never have to face the financial and emotional struggles of sexual misconduct. However, the church can be proactive and consider these prevention tips:

  • Screen employees and volunteers;
  • Establish organizational policies and procedures;
  • Educate staff, children and parents; and
  • Develop the best program for your organization.

Background Checks

In addition to providing safe physical surroundings, ensuring the individuals providing care for children have good intentions is important as well. Conducting background checks for potential employees and volunteers can be helpful in the hiring process. These screenings can allow for your organization to be aware of any probation, pending charges or adjudicated cases that an applicant has been involved in. Utilizing background checks can ensure the individuals working in your nurseries and daycares can be entrusted with children.

Protect Your Flock

While they are the smallest members of your church, their safety is equally important. Protect the children of your church and create a safe environment by taking advantage of the Nursery, Daycare and Playground Safety video and other resources that can be found under the Children & Youth Safety category on the SafeChurch.com Resourcespage.

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