Lost Child and Uncollected Child Policy1>
Lost Child Procedure
At Rum Tum Tugger’s Nurseries, all members of staff check the register of attendance in each session and familiarise themselves with the number of children in their care during that period of time. During the course of the session, a series of headcounts will be carried out as the children move between activities. This ensures awareness that no child has become lost. Our registers are diligently kept and allow staff to see at what time children have arrived and the time that they were collected. Where an activity poses a higher degree of risk, such as an outing, adult to child ratios will be boosted with the help of volunteers.
In the event that a child should be lost on the premises:
- The Key Person ensures that the remainder of the group is safe and in the care of suitable staff before leaving them to attend to the lost child.
- Every point of entry/exit should be checked and if found unsecured, made safe to prevent further incidents.
- If all access points are found to be secure, the Key Person should methodically check all accessible areas in the building, calling the child’s name and moving obstacles in case the child is unconscious or unable to reply. This will continue until the child is found and assessed. The matter should be recorded and reported to the child’s parents/carers at the end of the session if the child is well. If the child is found to be unconscious, the nursery’s emergency procedure would be applied.
- If the child is not found or if a door is found to have been left open, the Key Person must seek assistance. The Key Person will extend the search outside the premises whilst a nursery assistant alerts emergency services and parents
- Searching will continue until the child is either found or the correct authorities take charge of the process.
- A full report of the incident will be made and forwarded to the appropriate regulatory bodies, including Ofsted.
- Analysis of the report will ensure that the hazard leading up to the child’s disappearance is eliminated.
During nursery outings, we aim to provide a ratio of one adult to two children; – one for every adult hand. This simple benchmark allows an easy measurement of the presence of the correct number of children. As many adults as possible will be asked to carry mobile telephones. At any point that a child is noted as missing, the emergency services and the child’s parents/carers will be alerted immediately. The group will be taken to a safe muster point and a suitable number of adults will begin to search until the child is found or the appropriate authorities take charge of the process. The usual reporting procedures will be carried out and audited.
If a nominated collector has not arrived fifteen minutes after the end of a given session and no collection advice has been telephoned to the setting, the Key Person or a member of the management team will begin to telephone all nominated collectors or emergency contacts for that child until a suitable person is found and arrangements are made for collection. This may be away from the setting. The parents/carers will be offered, within reason, the opportunity for the child to be dropped to a preferred address if a parent/carer is unable to get to the setting within a reasonable amount of time.
If it is impossible to contact anyone regarding the safe collection of the child, the emergency services and the Essex Safeguarding Children Committee will be contacted. The Key Person will remain with the child until such time as they are settled into the care of the local authority.
A lost or uncollected child will be reported to Ofsted at Building C, Cumberland Place, Nottingham, NG1 6HJ 08456 404040.
Reviewed May 2008