General Indoor Safety Considerations
When it comes to ensuring safety within the facility, there are many areas to consider. It’s a good idea to start at the front door and walk the entire facility looking for potential hazards and safety concerns on a regular basis. Be sure to look at each area of the facility from both an adult’s and a child’s perspective, which means lowering yourself to a child’s height, where you can notice things you might overlook at your normal eye level.
In addition to regular safety inspections, every employee who enters the building must be focused on identifying items or areas that may pose a safety hazard. Common items may be overlooked if staff is not completely focused on safety. For example, a tube of lip balm that rolls under a table can pose a choking hazard to a curious child. Plastic bags should be removed from areas accessible to children immediately.
Staff should make a point to check for items that might have been left out by cleaning or maintenance personnel. As employees walk the halls, they should make a point of checking to be sure closet doors are locked and there are no obstructions in the hallways.
Preparation is another way to ensure safety. This means gathering all necessary materials before diaper changing so that complete attention can be given to the child. Extra serving spoons should be available during mealtimes in case a spoon falls on the floor. Ready-to-go bags should be prepped and easily accessible in case of an evacuation.
Close and engaged supervision throughout the day can also help teachers prevent safety issues, such as sitting with children as they eat meals and snacks. This allows teachers to observe children closely and act quickly in case of an emergency. Engaging with children as they play can help teachers identify toys or materials that may have sharp or broken pieces.
Ongoing training on how to inspect learning environments for safety should occur regularly. Whenever possible, training should include some kind of practical application that requires employees to conduct safety checks or identify safety hazards in photos. Safety training can become repetitive, so it is important to find new and creative ways to engage staff in this important topic.
Here is a comprehensive checklist that you may find helpful that is available in English, Spanish, and Chinese.
For the main article Assessing Safety in Early Learning Environments, CLICK HERE
For the article Active Supervision, CLICK HERE
For the article General Playground Safety, CLICK HERE
For the article Maintaining Safety with Fresh Eyes, CLICK HERE