Quality Area 2: Children’s health and safety

2.1 Adequate supervision

National Law, Section 165 ]

The approved provider, nominated supervisor and family day care educator must ensure all children being educated and cared for by the service are adequately supervised at all times, including during excursions and on transportation provided or arranged by the service.

Educator-to-child ratios alone do not achieve adequate supervision. Supervision is critical to the safety of children and helps to protect children from harm or hazards that may arise in their play and daily routines.

Adequate supervision means:

  • that an educator can respond immediately, particularly when a child is distressed or in a hazardous situation
  • knowing where children are at all times and monitoring their activities actively and diligently.

Educators should balance supervision and engagement by drawing on a range of skills such as positioning, using peripheral vision and monitoring changes in noise and stress levels.

Children of different ages and abilities need different levels of supervision. In general, the younger the children are, the more they need an adult close by to support and help them.

Centre-based services

Examples of adequate supervision of children in a centre-based service include:

  • birth to three – educators can see and hear the children at all times, especially if sleeping
  • young children – educators remain in close proximity to the children
  • preschool age children – educators actively supervise indoor and outdoor environments
  • over preschool age children – educators know where each child is and in a position to respond if necessary.

Family day care

In a family day care service, some children may be playing in different parts of the family day care residence or venue and the educator will need to consider how these children will be adequately supervised.

Consideration should be given to whether the age and developmental needs of individual children would allow them to play in areas of the family day care residence or venue where they are not directly supervised.

Travel outside the education and care service, for reasons of excursions or any form of transportation provided or arranged by the service, might require different levels of supervision.

Factors affecting adequate supervision

Authorised officers may consider the following factors when considering the adequacy of supervision.

Factors affecting adequate supervision

Number, ages, abilities and individual needs of children

Number and positioning of educators

Each child’s current activity, including those who are sleeping or resting

Areas where children are playing, in particular their visibility and accessibility

Risks in the environment and experiences provided to children, including excursions or on transportation provided or arranged by the service.

The educators’ knowledge of each child and each group of children

The experience, knowledge and skill of each educator

Family day care

In family day care, particular consideration should be given to the layout of the areas of care, the number of children attending, and supervision during periods of sleep and rest and in toileting/nappy change areas.

An authorised officer may discuss with the approved provider or nominated supervisor the importance of teamwork and good communication among staff for ensuring adequate supervision. For example, educators should let their colleagues know if they need to leave the area for any reason, such as to get a resource from another area, or to use the bathroom. The approved provider could develop a handover routine for changing shifts, which may include using a diary or communication book.

Family day care

When visiting or assessing family day care services, authorised officers may discuss with the approved provider how supervision is considered in risk assessments of family day care residences and approved family day care venues, and how they work with educators in each residence or venue to ensure supervision is adequate and appropriate for the ages and needs of the children attending.   

Key times of the day and year
Staff must ensure that end-of-day duties, such as cleaning and securing premises, do not compromise adequate supervision of children. Services should develop a combination of systems which show when each child is absent, is in attendance or has left for the day. For example, in a long day care service there might be a magnetic board in each room indicating each child’s presence or absence, which is updated when the child arrives and departs. This might be used in combination with sign in/out records. Educators should look for visual cues that a child may still be on the premises (for example, a backpack left on a hook) and physically check each area, including sleeping areas, to ensure no child is accidentally locked inside.
 

Family day care


In family day care this may also include having a supervision strategy for the arrival and departure of children to and from the residence or venue depending on the nature of the residence and any concerns with access to and from the residence.

At times it may be appropriate to provide additional educators to adequately supervise and support children, for example, at the beginning of the year when a number of children are transitioning to new rooms. This could assist educators to respond to children’s needs and foster children’s sense of security and belonging.

Consideration should also be given to ensuring children are adequately supervised when educators are performing other tasks such as cleaning after meal times and at rest time. Additional educators may be required to ensure children’s needs for safety and supervision are met.

Excursions

National Regulations, Regulation 100–101 ]

Undertaking a risk assessment is part of planning a regular outing or excursion. The risk assessment will need to take into account the levels of supervision and number of adults needed. Services might consider how attendance numbers will be verified at certain times during the excursion, such as when leaving the premises or travelling on public transport. For example, strategies might include head counts or allocating a group of children to a particular adult or educator (see more information about Excursions, below).

A regular outing for a family day care service could include:

  • shopping
  • visiting the local library
  • attending a park or playground
  • attending playgroup.

See more information about Excursions below.

Transportation
Undertaking a risk assessment is part of planning for regular transportation or transportation that is provided or arranged by an education and care service. The risk assessment will need to take into account the levels of supervision and the number of staff needed to maintain adequate supervision. Services might consider how children are supervised while being transported and whether additional adults are required.

Services should plan for times when a staff member or nominated supervisor is required to be present at a vehicle to account for children when they embark and disembark the vehicle at the education and care service premises. They must ensure that all children remain adequately supervised whenever they are on the service premises. 

See more information about Transportation below. 
Sleeping children
The circumstance and needs of each child must be considered to determine any risk factors, including for children with known risk factors of SUDI, that may impact on the adequate supervision of sleeping children. Approved providers must ensure adequate supervision and monitoring of children during periods of sleep and rest is maintained, conducted and documented, including the method and frequency of checking each child’s safety, health and wellbeing. 

Red Nose Australia recognises continuous supervision, in which an educator is in sight and hearing of a sleeping child at all times, represents best practice. There may be exceptional or extenuating circumstances or certain service settings where continuous supervision is not achievable at all times, for example, if an educator working alone is attending to another child’s needs. Approved providers must assess and mitigate risks* associated to ensure children are adequately supervised. In all cases, safe sleep practices and regular, physical checks must continue to be implemented.

 *Providers must prepare a risk assessment at least every 12 months and as soon as practicable after becoming aware of any circumstances that may affect the safety, health or wellbeing of any children during sleep and rest.

Approved providers must also consider the following matters when undertaking their risk assessment:
- the number of staff required, and the frequency and method of supervision and monitoring of children who are sleeping or resting
- current advice from recognised authorities (such as Red Nose and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission)
- the level of knowledge and training of staff supervising children during periods of sleep and rest.

Red Nose Australia recommends physical bed-side checks should be conducted regularly, including visual inspection of the child’s:
- sleeping position
- skin and lip colour
- breathing
- body temperature
- head position
- airway, and
- head and face, to ensure they remain uncovered. 

Supervision during sleep and rest periods should enable educators to assess the child’s breathing and colour of their skin to ensure their safety and wellbeing. Rooms that are very dark and have music playing may not support adequate supervision of sleeping children. Windows should be kept clear and not painted over or covered with curtains or posters. Any use of windows and CCTV and/or monitors must not replace physical bed side checks and should be used in addition to physical bed-side checks. 

A family day care service should have an agreed and documented plan for the supervision of sleeping children, tailored to the unique layout and safety considerations of each family day care residence or approved family day care venue as well as the ages, development stages and any identified individual health needs of the children in care. For example, the service should ensure that children are not placed in the educator's bedroom if they would have access to medication or other dangerous items.

Approved providers must support educators to assess, document and manage risks to their ability to maintain continuous supervision of sleeping children. Educators should consider how they will ensure regular, high quality physical checks along with other safe sleep practices to ensure adequate supervision. 

For more information access Red Nose Safe Sleeping advice and read the ACECQA Safe sleep and rest practices information sheet at https://www.acecqa.gov.au/resources/supporting-materials/infosheet/safe…. Policies and procedures on sleep and rest must also be in place (see Sleep and rest, below). 

Family day care

A family day care service should have an agreed and documented practice for the supervision of sleeping children, tailored to the unique layout and safety considerations of each family day care residence or venue as well as the ages and development stages of the children in care. For example, the service should ensure that children are not placed in the educator's bedroom if they would have access to medication or other dangerous items.

For more information read the ACECQA Safe sleep and rest practices information sheet at https://www.acecqa.gov.au/resources/supporting-materials/infosheet/safe-sleep-and-rest-practices. Policies and procedures on sleep and rest must also be in place (see Sleep and rest, below).
Nappy change
Preparing for a nappy change is essential to maintaining an adequate level of supervision. Educators should ensure the required equipment is available and within reach prior to beginning the nappy change. During a nappy change, a child should never be left alone on the change table and physical contact should always be maintained with the child.
Where older children with special needs require nappy changing the adequacy of supervision and the privacy needs of the child should be considered. The facilities that will be required to ensure hygienic practices of nappy changing areas should also be considered.

Family day care

Family day care services should have clear guidelines to ensure hygienic practices in nappy changing areas and these should consider proximity to hand washing facilities and supervision of all children. This should be included or considered in the assessment of family day care residences.

2.2 Harm and hazards

 

National Law, Section 167 ]

Every reasonable precaution must be taken to protect children from harm and from hazards likely to cause injury.

The age of the children, their developmental needs and the way in which they are being supervised may impact on the level of harm posed by a risk or hazard.

Regular risk/benefit assessments should be conducted to identify and manage potential hazards while children are being educated and cared for. Policies and procedures should be in place and kept up to date. The authorised officer may examine policies and procedures, particularly in relation to health and safety and providing a child safe environment (regulation 168(2)(a) and (h)), as well as in relation to excursions (regulation 168(2)(g)) and transportation (regulation 168(2)(ga).

Many factors may contribute to a hazard, such as a poor program, inadequate supervision and worn equipment. Approved providers, nominated supervisors and family day care educators should develop, implement and monitor procedures for identifying, mitigating and, where necessary, preventing hazards. For example, authorised officers may see the types of precautions outlined below being taken at the education and care service as evidence of meeting this requirement.

Approved providers, nominated supervisors and family day care educators:

  • must be able to provide evidence to the authorised officer, that they have weighed the obligation to protect children from harm against the benefit of providing children with a stimulating play environment
  • should show an ongoing awareness of safety and hazards and take reasonable steps to protect against these hazards as they arise.

Preventing harm and hazards

Daily safety checks of the environment and equipment

Secure storage of hazardous products including chemicals

An equipment maintenance schedule

Risk assessments, including for sleep and rest, excursions and transportation provided or arranged by the service. 

If staff consume hot drinks, they are made and consumed away from children

Equipment that meets Australian Standards – for example, cots and playground equipment and surfacing, and safety plugs in unused electrical outlets

Staff, volunteers and students have current working with children checks or equivalent

Staff, volunteers and students are given information and/or training about child protection law and any obligations they have under that law

Procedures for releasing children only into the care of authorised persons

Family day care

In family day care residences and venues, an assessment or safety check of all indoor and outdoor equipment is regularly made, reviewed and monitored

Risk minimisation practices are in place for the management of medical conditions

Firearms and ammunition are stored securely and separately from each other, are inaccessible to children and are not used in the presence of children

Family day care

For family day care services, that there are adequate checks in place to ensure that each family day care residence and venue has a tailored evacuation plan specific to the residence type and that careful consideration has been given to the ability of the educator to evacuate all children in attendance at the residence at all times if alone

Hygiene, cleanliness and safety checks of furniture and equipment – for example, high chairs are clean and children are secured, portacots are in good repair and replaced as needed and in line with the manufacturers’ advice. Portacots should only be used for temporary, short-term arrangements, not for regular use for children enrolled at an education and care service. According to Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) guidelines, portacots are designed for brief, temporary use and are more susceptible to wear and tear. Portacots should not be used as permanent sleeping equipment due to potential risk of harm to children.

Procedures for the safe use and access of online environments.

Firearms in family day care services

Family day care

Some family day care residences or venues may have firearms on the premises, particularly in rural areas. Firearms are regulated at the state and territory level under a uniform national approach, which covers licensing, permits and safe storage. Each state and territory has their own firearms registry administered by their police force.

Authorised officers visiting a residence or venue should sight the following to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of children:

  • the firearms licence
  • that firearms and ammunition are securely stored separately from each other
  • that firearms and ammunition are inaccessible to children and is not used in the presence of children.
More information on the regulation of firearms is available from the state or territory police force, and the National Firearms Safety Code produced by the Commonwealth Attorney–General’s Department.
Safety measures should align with advice from recognised authorities such as Standards Australia, and with local government, state, and territory compliance agencies.
For information on how to help keep children safe visit Kidsafe at www.kidsafe.com.au and contact the state or territory child protection authority for best practice information – see Children’s health and safety for a list of contacts.

2.3 Health, hygiene and safe food practices

 

National Regulations, Regulations 77, 168 ]

Adequate health and hygiene practices and safe practices for handling, preparing and storing food must be implemented at the service.

The approved provider is responsible for ensuring the nominated supervisor, staff members and volunteers at the service implement these practices. The nominated supervisor is also responsible for ensuring implementation by staff and volunteers.

A family day care educator must implement adequate health and hygiene practices and safe practices for handling, preparing and storing food.

Educators should be particularly aware of safety standards for storing and reheating food brought in from home.

The approved provider must ensure policies and procedures are in place in relation to health and safety.

Authorised officers may do the following to ensure adequate practices:

  • Observe hand washing, toileting, nappy changing, cleaning equipment and storing and reheating food are appropriate.
  • Examine the policies and procedures in relation to health, hygiene and food safety practices. This can help the authorised officer determine whether the problem relates to implementing good practice, or whether there are broader issues with awareness and understanding of the requirement.
  • Discuss strategies that are in place at the service to ensure practices are adequate and consistently implemented.
More information
The National Law and Regulations do not require providers to use any particular guideline or standard in relation to health, hygiene and food safety practices.
Download the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) publication Staying Healthy: Preventing infectious diseases in early childhood education and care services (latest edition available at www.nhmrc.gov.au) for advice about health, hygiene and food safety practices.
Other rules apply to approved providers in relation to food safety, including the Food Safety Standards developed by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) (available at www.foodstandards.gov.au). Food safety legislation for all states and territories references the Food Safety Standards and details the responsibilities of food handlers. Food authorities in each state or territory monitor compliance with the Food Safety Standards. Food authorities in some jurisdictions also require providers that supply food and beverages to register as a food business. Contact details for food authorities in each state and territory are provided at the end of Children’s health and safety.

Food and beverages

 

National Regulations, Regulations 78–79, 168 ]

The approved provider, nominated supervisor and family day care educator must ensure that children have access to safe drinking water at all times and are offered food and beverages on a regular basis throughout the day. Food and beverages must be appropriate to the needs of each child.

If food or beverages are provided at the service, they must be nutritious and adequate in quantity, and take into account dietary requirements appropriate to each child’s growth and development needs, and any specific cultural, religious or health requirements. This does not apply to food and beverages provided by a family for their child.

The approved provider must ensure policies and procedures are in place in relation to nutrition, food and beverages and dietary requirements.

The regulatory authority may examine these policies and procedures if they have concerns about the appropriateness of food and beverages provided. This can help the officer to determine whether the problems relate to implementing good practice, or whether there are broader issues with awareness and understanding of the requirement.

The National Law and Regulations do not require providers to use any particular food and beverage guideline or standard.
For advice about diet and nutrition for children, download the Australian Dietary Guidelines (www.eatforhealth.gov.au), the Get Up & Grow: Healthy eating and physical activity for early childhood resources (www.health.gov.au) and the Physical Activity and Nutrition Outside School Hours (www.health.qld.gov.au).

Weekly menu

 

National Regulations, Regulation 80 ]

The approved provider, nominated supervisor and family day care educator must ensure that if the service provides food and beverages (other than water), a weekly menu that accurately describes the food and beverages is provided by the service each day is displayed where parents can access it.

The menu should include enough detail to inform parents about what food and beverages will be offered. If the menu changes (for example, due to the unavailability of certain ingredients), parents should be informed of the substitute menu item offered to their child. For example, this might be done through a note on a whiteboard, daily journal, communication book or via email.

Regulations 79 and 80 do not apply to food and beverages provided by a parent or family member for consumption by their child. However, the service could promote healthy choices through strategies such as information pamphlets from recognised nutrition authorities.

Sleep and rest

 

National Regulations, Regulations 84A, 84B, 84C, 84D, 168 ]

The approved provider, nominated supervisor and family day care educator must take reasonable steps to ensure the individual sleep and rest needs of children at the service are met. This must include consideration of how specific health care needs, and the cultural preferences of and requests from families, are considered and addressed.  

The approved provider must ensure:

  • best practice guidance on safe sleep and rest is incorporated into a service’s practice
  • staff are inducted, trained and maintain current knowledge on regulatory requirements, health guidelines and best practice guidance relating to sleep and rest
  • the location and arrangement of the sleep and rest areas meets children’s sleep and rest needs
  • the physical safety and suitability of sleep and rest environments
  • adequate supervision and monitoring of children during periods of sleep and rest is conducted and documented, including the method and frequency of checking children’s safety, health and wellbeing
  • the cots, bedding and bedding equipment being used for sleep and rest are safe and appropriate for the ages and developmental stages of children who will use them. Bassinets must not be on the education and care service premises (including centre based care and family day care) at any time that children are being educated and cared for by the service
  • the information about the service’s sleep and rest policy and procedures is communicated to and consulted on with parents, families and carers
  • specific risks relating to overnight care are addressed, including services where overnight care is provided (such as, services in hospitals, where shift workers’ children attend overnight, and for family day care residences or approved family day care venues). 

Best practice guidance for safe sleeping environments and bedding are considered in decisions about appropriate bedding and equipment for each child. Red Nose Australia recommends that, for children under 12 months of age:

  • always place baby on back for sleep
  • keep baby’s head and face uncovered
  • sleep baby in a safe environment – in a safe cot, with a safe mattress (firm, clean, well-fitting and flat). 

Children’s mattresses should be firm and flat with secure bedding and free of loose or soft items. Red Nose Australia recommends that once a child has the capacity to climb out of a cot, they should be transitioned from the cot to minimise risks of falling.

Educators should consider risks to children’s health and safety, and hazards in the sleep environment such as children’s access to other parts of the environment as they wake, including items that could pose a risk such as blinds, cords or other objects, as well as other people’s access to the sleep environment and sleeping children. 

Planned ‘rest periods’ for young children are often implemented at services, however, routines and the physical environment should also be flexible enough to support children who do not require a sleep and to ensure opportunities are provided for rest and relaxation throughout the day as needed.

Authorised officers may look for indications that sleepy children are offered an opportunity to rest, whether by sleeping or just sitting quietly. Where a planned rest period is implemented and not all children are sleeping, authorised officers may look to see if children who appear to be alert and restless are offered appropriate alternatives while others sleep.

The requirement to take reasonable steps to ensure children’s needs for sleep and rest are met does not mean children should be required to sleep. If an authorised officer has concerns about a service meeting children’s individual needs for sleep and rest, they may check whether policies and procedures are in place about sleep and rest (required under regulation 168).

Consideration should also be given to the hygienic handling of linen used in the provision of sleep and rest (including cushion covers).

More information
Visit the Red Nose Australia website (www.rednose.com.au) for free safe sleeping resources or to purchase the Infant Safe Sleeping Child Care Kit for early childhood education and care services, to inform the development of sleep and rest policies and procedures.
For more information read the ACECQA Safe sleep and rest practices information sheet at https://www.acecqa.gov.au/resources/supporting-materials/infosheet/safe-sleep-and-rest-practices.

Risk assessment

Approved providers must ensure a risk assessment is prepared in relation to sleep and rest. Risk assessments must identify and assess risks in relation to sleep and rest and specify how the identified risks will be managed and minimised. The content of the risk assessment should be adapted to suit your service’s circumstances, for example, risks associated with children who are sleeping may not be present in services that cater to older children who may not need to sleep. 

Approved providers must make any necessary updates to the sleep and rest policies and procedures as soon as practicable after conducting a risk assessment and must keep a record of each risk assessment. 

A risk assessment must include assessment of the matters set out below. 

Matters that must be considered in a risk assessment

a) the number, ages and developmental stages of children being educated and care for by the education and care service, or in the case of family day care service, at each family day care residence or approved family day care venue of the service

b) the individual sleep and rest needs of children being educated and cared for (including specific health care needs, cultural preferences and requests from families

c) the suitability of staffing arrangements to adequately supervise and monitor all children during sleep and rest periods
d) the level of knowledge and training of the staff supervising children during periods of sleep and rest periods
e) the location of the sleep and rest areas, including the arrangement of the cots and beds within the sleep and rest areas
f) the safety and suitability of any cots, beds and bedding equipment and whether it is appropriate for the ages and developmental stages of the children who will use them. Note that bassinets must not be on the education and care service premises (including centre based care and family day care) at any time that children are being educated and cared for by the service
g) any potential hazards in the sleep and rest areas, cots, beds and bedding equipment 
h) any potential hazards on the child, such as clothing or jewellery 
i) physical safety and suitability of sleep and rest environments, including the temperature, lighting and ventilation of the areas
j) For FDC residences, approved FDC venues and overnight care, any risks that the overnight care provided at the family day care residence or approved venue of the service may pose to the safety, health or wellbeing of the child. This includes the potential for other children or people (e.g. residents of an FDC residence) to access children during periods of sleep and rest or access of the child to other parts of the FDC residence or venue. 

 

Tobacco, drug and alcohol-free environment

 

National Law & Regulations, Section 167, Regulations 82–83 ]

The approved provider and family day care educator must ensure the environment is free from the use of tobacco, illicit drugs and alcohol.

The approved provider must ensure that the nominated supervisor, staff members and volunteers at the service are not affected by alcohol or drugs (including prescription medication) that may impair their capacity to supervise or provide education and care to children at the service.

The nominated supervisor and family day care educator must not consume alcohol or be affected by alcohol or drugs (including prescription medications) that may impair their capacity to provide education and care to children at the service.

These requirements only apply to the service premises or family day care residence when the service is providing education and care to children.

The requirements about use of prescription medications do not mean that educators, staff or volunteers who require prescription medication must be excluded, but rather that consideration be given to whether that medication affects the person’s capacity to provide education and care to children.

Any alcohol, tobacco or drugs on the service premises should be kept out of reach of children.

Authorised officers may talk to family day care educators about developing strategies to ensure that the educator’s home is a safe place for children, while recognising the rights of the educator’s family. The service’s Code of Conduct might include details identifying areas suitable for smoking within the family residence.

Other state or territory-specific legislative requirements may apply regarding tobacco use around children.

2.4 Child protection

National Law & Regulations, Sections 162A, 166, Regulations 84, 168 ]

Service approvals are granted subject to the condition that the education and care service is operated in a way that ensures the safety, health and wellbeing of the children being educated and cared for by the service.

The approved provider must ensure:

  • each nominated supervisor, person in day-to-day charge and family day care co-ordinator of the service has successfully completed the child protection training (if any) required in their state or territory – child protection training may be required under a state or territory law, a government protocol or under another instrument such as a state government memorandum of understanding
  • the nominated supervisors, staff members, volunteers and students at the service who work with children are advised of the existence and application of the current child protection law in the relevant jurisdiction and understand their obligations under that law
  • policies and procedures are in place in relation to providing a child safe environment, including the creation of a child-safe culture in services and the safe use of online environments in services. 
To check the child protection training required, approved providers can contact the regulatory authority or child protection agency in the relevant state or territory listed at the end of Children’s health and safety.

Authorised officers may ask for evidence that child protection training has been completed, for example a course completion certificate.

Authorised officer may also ask the approved provider how they ensure educators, staff, volunteers and students are aware of the current child protection law and their responsibilities, such as by attending regular refresher training or in-house workshops (including on a service's policies and procedures), completing online training, or other ways. Formal child protection training is not available in all states and territories, so approved providers may use other methods to meet this requirement, such as distributing information to staff and discussing obligations.

It is also an offence under the National Law to subject a child being educated and cared for by an approved service to any form of corporal punishment, or any discipline that is unreasonable in the circumstances.
See Governance and leadership for information on reporting to the Regulatory Authority, including physical and sexual abuse.

For child safe requirements, initiatives and resources in each state or territory, approved providers can access the Australian Human Rights Commission ‘Child Safe Organisations’.

For contact details of child protection reporting requirements and authorities in each state and territory, you can access the Australian Government, Australian Institute of Family Studies website.

In each state and territory, all serious concerns should be reported by phone rather than online or via email. Serious concerns include when you suspect a child or young person is in imminent or immediate danger of serious harm, serious injury or chronic neglect. Please ensure you are familiar with the requirements in your state or territory.

State or Territory

Reporting Authority

Further services/information

Contact details

Australian Capital Territory Child and Youth Protective Services

Child and Youth Protection Services are responsible for facilitating coordination across government for the care and protection of children and young people in the Australian Capital Territory.

If you are concerned about a child and want further information on mandatory reporting, refer to Keeping Children and Young People Safe.

Phone: General public Ph: 1300 556 729 (24 hours) 

Mandated reporters Ph: 1300 556 728 (24 hours)

Online: For less serious concerns, complete an online child concern report.

Email: For less serious concerns, contact Child Protection Reports.

New South Wales Department of Communities and Justice

The Department of Communities and Justice is responsible for handling reports of child abuse and neglect in New South Wales. Information about the process of reporting child welfare concerns can be found on the department’s Reporting a Child at Risk webpage.

For information about mandatory reporting, refer to the Mandatory reporters webpage.

Phone: Child Protection Helpline Ph: 13 21 11 (24 hours) (TTY/voice calls: 133 677; Speak & Listen: 1300 555 727; SMS: 0423 677 767) 

Online: Mandatory reporters with less serious concerns can use eReporting.

Northern Territory Territory Families, Housing and Communities

In the Northern Territory, every person is required to report suspected child abuse and neglect. 

For further information about the process of reporting concerns about a child’s welfare in the Northern Territory, refer to the Report Child Abuse page of the department’s website.

Phone: Child Abuse Hotline Ph: 1800 700 250 (24 hours)
Queensland Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs

Child Safety is the lead child protection agency in Queensland. For information about the process of reporting concerns about a child’s welfare in Queensland, refer to the Protecting Children webpage of the department’s website.

For more information about mandatory reporting, refer to the Mandatory Reporting in Queensland webpage.

Phone: For a list of contact numbers during business hours, go to: Regional Intake Services or call the Child Protection General Enquiries line Ph: 1800 811 81

Child Safety After Hours Service Centre Ph: 1800 177 135

South Australia Department for Child Protection

The Department for Child Protection works to keep South Australia’s children safe by protecting them from abuse and neglect.

For information about the process of reporting concerns about a child’s welfare in South Australia, refer to the department’s Report Child Abuse webpage.

The Department for Child Protection provides additional information for mandatory reporting, including Mandated Notifiers and Their Role and Preparing to Report Child Abuse.

Phone: Child Abuse Report Line  Ph: 13 14 78 (24 hours) 

Online: Less serious concerns can also be reported online.

Tasmania Department of Communities Tasmania

The role of the Child Safety Service is to protect children and young people who are at risk of abuse and neglect in Tasmania.

For information about the process of reporting concerns about a child’s welfare in Tasmania, refer to the department’s Child Safety Service webpage.

Information about mandatory reporting and making a notification can be found on the department’s Child safety notifications webpage.

Phone: Child Safety Service 1800 000 123 (24 hours)

Online: Mandatory reporters with less serious concerns can report online.

Victoria Department of Families, Fairness and Housing

The Child Protection Service is specifically targeted to those children and young people at risk of significant harm in Victoria.

For information about child protection and mandatory reporting requirements in Victoria, refer to the department’s Child Protection webpage.

Phone: For a list of regional and metropolitan phone numbers: Child Protection Contacts 

After hours child protection emergency service Ph: 13 12 78

Western Australia Department of Communities, Child Protection

The Department of Communities, Child Protection offers a range of services to support children and families in Western Australia.

For further information about the process of reporting concerns about a child’s welfare, refer to the department’s If You are Concerned About a Child webpage.

Information about mandatory reporting in Western Australia can be found on the department’s mandatory reporting information webpage.

Phone: Central Intake Team Ph: 1800 273 889 

After hours Ph: (08) 9223 1111 or Country Freecall: 1800 199 008

Online: Mandatory reporters with less serious concerns can use the department’s secure Mandatory Reporting Web System.

2.5 Incidents, injury, trauma and illness

Policies and procedures

National Regulations, Regulation 85 ]

The service’s incident, injury, trauma and illness policies and procedures must include procedures to be followed by nominated supervisors, staff members and volunteers at the service in the event that a child is injured, becomes ill, or suffers a trauma.

See Governance and leadership for more information on serious incidents.

Notifying parents

National Regulations, Regulation 86 ]

A parent must be notified as soon as practicable, but not later than 24 hours after the occurrence, if the child is involved in any incident, injury, trauma or illness while the child is being educated and cared for by the service.

See Governance and leadership for more information.

Records

National Regulations, Regulations 87, 183 ]

Approved providers and family day care educators must keep an incident, injury, trauma and illness record. The information must be included in the record as soon as practicable, but not later than 24 hours after the incident, injury, trauma or onset of illness.

The incident, injury, trauma and illness record must be kept confidential and stored until the child is 25 years old. See Governance and leadership for more information about record keeping obligations.

The incident, injury, trauma and illness record must include the information set out in the following table.

Information that must be included in an incident, injury, trauma or illness record

Details of any incident, injury, trauma or illness, including:

  • the name and age of the child
  • the circumstances leading to the incident, injury, trauma or illness and any apparent symptoms
  • the time and date the incident, injury, trauma or illness occurred

Details of any action taken by the service, including:

  • any medication administered or first aid provided
  • any medical personnel contacted

Details of any witnesses

The name of any person the service notified or attempted to notify, and the time and date of the notifications

The name and signature of the person making an entry in the record, and the time and date that the entry was made.

Authorised officers may examine the policies and procedures required under regulation 168. Authorised officers may also check the service records related to incidents, illness, injury or trauma for details of notifications.

Information about the requirement to notify the regulatory authority is included in Governance and leadership.

Incident, injury, trauma and illness records do not have to be written in any particular format. Visit the ACECQA website for an (optional) template at www.acecqa.gov.au.
Healthdirect Australia (www.healthdirect.org.au) provides information on what action could be taken in the event of an incident.

2.6 Infectious diseases

 

National Regulations, Regulations 88, 168 ]

The approved provider must take reasonable steps to prevent the spread of infectious diseases at the service, and ensure the parent or authorised emergency contact of each child enrolled at the service is notified of the occurrence of an infectious disease as soon as practicable.

For family day care services, the approved provider must ensure that the parent or emergency contact of each child being educated and cared for at the affected residence or venue is notified.

The approved provider must ensure policies and procedures are in place in relation to dealing with infectious diseases.

Authorised officers may examine the policies and procedures in relation to dealing with infectious disease required under regulation 168 and discuss with educators.

Download the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) publication Staying Healthy: Preventing infectious diseases in early childhood education and care services (www.nhmrc.gov.au) for information about infectious diseases which must be notified to the local public health department and exclusion periods for infectious diseases.

Family day care

Notifying all families of the occurrence of an infectious disease should be done in a manner that is not prejudicial to the rights of any child or staff member. For example, ‘There has been a case of chicken pox in the toddler room’ rather than ‘John has chicken pox’. This might be done through a notice at the entrance to the service.

In the case of a family day care service this might be done by displaying a notice at the residence or venue where there has been an outbreak of an infectious disease, stating that there has been an occurrence of an infectious disease.

2.7 First aid kits

 

National Regulations, Regulations 89, 168 ]

The approved provider must ensure an appropriate number of first aid kits are kept, and that these are suitably equipped relative to the number of children being educated and cared for at the service. The first aid kits must be easily recognisable and readily accessible to adults from all areas within the service. The service must have policies and procedures about the administration of first aid to children at the service.

First aid kits should also be taken when leaving the service premises for excursions, regular outings, at any time when transporting children or emergency evacuations. A belt bag is one way of taking a modified first aid kit to an outdoor play space.

  • A suitably equipped first aid kit should be fully stocked, with no expired products, and should be checked regularly to ensure this. For example, a service might keep a checklist of the contents inside each first aid kit, and initial the list each time the contents are checked. Authorised officers may refer approved providers or family day care educators to seek guidance from a reputable organisation such as St John Ambulance on first aid kit contents.
  • When determining how many first aid kits are appropriate, the service should consider the number of children in attendance as well as the proximity of rooms to each other and the distances from outdoor spaces to the nearest first aid kit. For example, larger services may require a kit in each room or outside space, whereas a kit between two rooms might be appropriate in a smaller service with adjoining rooms.
  • Services might use data gathered from their incident, injury, trauma and illness records or seek guidance from first aid training providers to determine the appropriate locations for first aid kits.

2.8 Medical conditions policy

The approved provider must ensure policies are in place for managing children’s medical conditions. The policies must include practices which address the issues listed in the table below.

Medical conditions policy content

The management of medical conditions, including asthma, diabetes or a diagnosis that a child is at risk of anaphylaxis

Informing the nominated supervisor, staff and volunteers at the service, and family day care educators in relation to managing medical conditions

The requirements arising if a child enrolled at the service has a specific health care need, allergy or relevant medical condition including:

  • requiring a parent to provide a medical management plan for the child
  • requiring the plan to be followed in the event of an incident relating to the child’s specific health care need, allergy or relevant medical condition
  • requiring the development of a risk minimisation plan in consultation with the parents of a child:

    to ensure that the risks relating to the child’s specific health care need, allergy or relevant medical condition are assessed and minimised

    if relevant, that practices and procedures in relation to the safe handling, preparation, consumption and service of food are developed and implemented

    if relevant, practices and procedures are developed and implemented ensuring that the child does not attend the service without medication prescribed by the child’s medical practitioner.

    that practices and procedures ensuring that all staff members and volunteers can identify the child, the child’s medical management plan and the location of the child’s medication are developed and implemented

    if relevant, that practices and procedures ensuring that the child does not attend the service without medication prescribed by the child’s medical practitioner in relation to the child’s specific health care need, allergy or relevant medical condition are developed and implemented

  • requiring the development of a communication plan to ensure that

    relevant staff members and volunteers are informed about the medical conditions policy and the medical management plan and risk minimisation plan for the child

    a child’s parent can communicate any changes to the medical management plan and risk minimisation plan for the child and setting out how that communication can occur.

The responsibilities of providers in relation to regulation 90 are set out in the table below, including:

Individual medical management plans can be provided by a child’s parents, and may be required by the service before the child is enrolled. It is best practice for parents to consult with the child's registered medical practitioner in the development of the plan and for the medical practitioner's advice to be documented.

Responsibilities for managing medical conditions

Who

What

When

Service

Have a medical conditions policy in place that meets the requirements of regulation 90.

Ongoing

Service

Ensure a communications plan is in place to inform all staff members of the medical conditions policy.

At all times the service is in operation, with updates made whenever required (i.e. when a new child enrols at the service with a specific health care need, allergy or relevant medical condition or when changes are required to existing medical management and risk minimisation plans)

Service

Ensure all staff members, including new staff members, are made aware of any children with a health care need, allergy or relevant medical condition.

Induction

Ongoing

Service

Seek information from parents about any specific health care need, allergy or medical condition, including whether a medical practitioner has been consulted in relation to a specific health care need, allergy or relevant medical condition. Ensure the medical management plan has been provided and that the risk minimisation plan has been developed and both documents are kept in the child’s enrolment records.

Before a child starts at the service

Parents

Inform the service of any specific health care need, allergy or relevant medication condition for their child.

Before a child starts at the service

Ongoing while the child attends the service

Service

Monitor the safety, health and wellbeing of all children being educated and cared for.

Ongoing

Service

Ensure parents are regularly asked if their child has developed a specific health care need, allergy or medical condition. And, if so, ensure relevant information is sought from parents and recorded in enrolment records.

Ongoing

Service

Develop a risk minimisation plan in relation to the child, in consultation with the parents of the child.

Before the child starts at the service

Service

Ensure relevant authorisations for the administration of medication are recorded on the enrolment record.

Before the child starts at the service

Parents

Provide a medical management plan to the service for their child.

Before the child starts at the service

Parents

Participate in the development of a risk minimisation plan in relation to their child’s specific health care need, allergy or relevant medical condition.

Before the child starts at the service

Service

Monitor the safety, health and wellbeing of the child and, where an incident occurs relating to a child’s specific health care need, allergy or relevant medical condition, ensure the medical management plan is followed.

While the child attends the service

Service

Regularly review the risk minimisation plan for the child.

While the child attends the service

Service

Ensure parents are asked to provide any updated information relating to the nature or management of their child’s specific health care need, allergies or relevant medical condition, including an updated medical management plan, if required.

While the child attends the service

Parents

Inform the service of any relevant changes relating to the nature or management of the child’s specific health care need, allergy or relevant medical condition.

While the child attends the service

Parents

Provide an updated medical management plan for the child.

While the child attends the service

National Regulations, Regulation 91 ]

If a child enrolled at the service has a specific health care need, allergy or other relevant medical condition, the parent of a child must be provided with a copy of the service’s medical conditions policy.

A ‘medical condition’ is a condition that has been diagnosed by a registered medical practitioner (a person registered under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law to practise in the medical profession, other than as a student). The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency keeps national registers of practitioners on its website at www.ahpra.gov.au.

2.9 Administration of medication

 

National Regulations, Regulation 93 ]

The approved provider, nominated supervisor and family day care educator must ensure that medication is not administered to a child at a service unless it is authorised and administered in accordance with the requirements of regulations 95 or 96.

Administration of medication to a child is authorised when it is recorded in the medication record for the child, or when verbal authorisation is given in an emergency (see below).

Medication record for the child

National Regulations, Regulation 92 ]

The approved provider and family day care educator must keep a medication record for each child who has received, or will receive, medication administered by the service. This record must include authorisation to administer medication, as well as the information set out in the table below.

Medication record content

The name of the child

Authorisation to administer medication (including, if applicable, self-administration), signed by a parent or person named in the child’s enrolment record as authorised to consent to administration of medication

The name of the medication to be administered

The time and date the medication was last administered

The time and date, or the circumstances under which, the medication should next be administered

The dosage of the medication to be administered

The manner in which the medication is to be administered

If the medication is administered to the child:

  • the dosage that was administered
  • the manner in which the medication was administered
  • the time and date the medication was administered
  • the name and signature of the person who administered the medication
  • the name and signature of the person who checked the dosage and administration

    (except in the case of a family day care service or service permitted to have only one educator).

Authorised administration with verbal consent

National Regulations, Regulation 93 ]

In case of an emergency, administration of medication is authorised if verbal consent is obtained from a parent or person named in the child’s enrolment record as authorised to consent to administration of medication. If this person cannot be contacted, a registered medical practitioner or medical emergency services can provide verbal consent.

If medication is administered to a child based on verbal consent from a registered medical practitioner or medical emergency services, the approved provider must ensure written notice is given to a parent or other family member as soon as practicable.

Exception to the authorisation requirement – anaphylaxis or asthma emergency

National Regulations, Regulation 94 ]

Medication may be administered to a child without an authorisation in the case of an anaphylaxis or asthma emergency. If this occurs, the approved provider, nominated supervisor or family day care educator must notify the parent of the child and emergency services as soon as practicable.

Procedures for administration and self-administration of medication

National Regulations, Regulation 95 ]

Medication can only be administered:

  • if it has been prescribed by a registered medical practitioner, from its original container with the original label including the name of the child for whom it is prescribed, before the expiry or use-by date, or
  • from its original container, with the original label and instructions and before the expiry or use-by date, and in accordance with any instructions attached to the medication or provided by a registered medical practitioner, either verbally or in writing.

A second person must check the dosage of the medication, the identity of the child receiving the medication and witness its administration, except in the case of a family day care service or another service that is permitted to have only one educator.

Details of the administration must be recorded in the medication record.

Visit the ACECQA website at www.acecqa.gov.au for an (optional) template medication record.

National Regulations, Regulation 96 ]

An approved provider may permit a child over preschool age to self-administer medication if:

  • an authorisation for the child to self-administer medication is recorded in the medication record for the child, and
  • the medical conditions policy of the service sets out practices in relation to self-administration of medication by children over preschool age.

Medication includes prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines. A service may have in place policies that restrict the types of medication that will be administered at the service.

If an authorised officer has concerns about how medication is administered at the service, they may discuss the ways in which staff are informed of procedures for administering medication, including what to do in the case of an emergency.

Approved providers can also contact their local public health department to check specific additional requirements in relation to prescribed medication that may apply in their state or territory (for example, in relation to the administration and storage of particular types of medication).

2.10 Emergencies and communication

 

National Regulations, Regulations 97, 116, 168 ]

Centre-based services and family day care residences or venues that are situated in a multi-storey building, whether located on the ground floor or above, have greater complexities and risks from those located in sole occupancy buildings.  This includes impediments and/or obstructions to the safe evacuation of non-ambulant children. Risks also arise from children mixing with unauthorised and unknown persons whose behaviour may be unpredictable in a crisis situation.

Emergency and evacuation procedures for all services in multi-storey buildings, including family day care residences and venues, should be developed with reference to the emergency and evacuation procedures for the whole building. Emergency and evacuation policies for centre-based services located within a multi-storey, multi-occupancy building must include coordinated planning with other tenants, residents or bodies corporate. The Australian Standard AS 3745-2010 – Planning for emergencies in facilities provides a framework that can guide services to plan the safe evacuation and assembly of children in these circumstances.

Approved providers must ensure:

  • policies and procedures are in place for dealing with emergency situations. This includes processes in place for when to stay inside the service, residence or venue and when to evacuate. The procedures must set out instructions for what must be done in the event of an emergency and an emergency and evacuation floor plan. For a centre-based service located in a multi-storey building shared with other occupants and on a floor without direct egress to an assembly area, the policies and procedures must set out all of the following information:
    • instructions for what must be done in an emergency 
    • all possible evacuation routes from each storey on which the premises are located and which routes are proposed to be used in an evacuation 
    • the stages in which an evacuation will be conducted. An evacuation conducted in stages may be appropriate, having regard to the different ages of the children, the number and location of storeys they are within the building, and the need for a safe and efficient evacuation in the context of other building occupants. Emergency evacuation plans should ensure that children’s safe evacuation and assembly are not impeded by other building occupants. 
    • how all children, including young children, infants and non-ambulatory children, will be safely evacuated
    • the identity of the person-in-charge
    • staff roles and responsibilities during an evacuation
    • the arrangements made with the other occupants of the multi-storey building in relation to the evacuation of the building. (For examples of direct egress, refer to the definition of ‘direct egress’ in the Glossary.)
  • measures are in place to ensure that children do not come into direct contact with unauthorised persons during an evacuation
  • a risk assessment is conducted to identify potential emergencies relevant to the service. For a centre-based service located in a multi-storey building with other occupants, a review of this risk assessment must be conducted:
    • at least once every 12 months; and 
    • as soon as practicable after the approved provider becomes aware of any circumstance that may affect the safe evacuation of children. 

Such circumstances may become apparent when, for example, the assembly area is impeded (for example, due to construction) or when an evacuation rehearsal identifies that the service’s existing procedures and practices are inadequate or when there is a significant change to the group of children being educated and cared for (for example, an increased number of infants and/or non-ambulatory children). 

A review of the risk assessment needs to assess whether all children can be safely evacuated from the building, including non-ambulatory children.

A $2,200 penalty applies and a compliance direction may be issued for non-compliance.

As soon as practicable after reviewing this risk assessment, the approved provider must then make any necessary updates to the policies and procedures (including the emergency and evacuation floor plan). Failure to comply attracts a penalty of $2,200.

Approved providers must ensure:

  • a copy of the emergency and evacuation floor plan and instructions are displayed in a prominent position near each exit at the premises.  
  • (for centre-based services) emergency and evacuation procedures are rehearsed every three months the service is operating – all children, volunteers and staff members present including the responsible person must participate at the time of the rehearsal
  • (for family day care services) each family day care educator rehearses every three months the service is operating, with the children present on that day.

‘Emergency’ refers to all situations or events posing an imminent or severe risk to those present at an education and care service premises. For example, an emergency could include a fire, flood or threat that requires a service to be locked down.

Approved providers may seek advice from their local fire brigade, or emergency services authority an appropriate expert in emergency procedures, fire safety advisor or fire safety engineer for advice about evacuation plans and emergency exits. 

Authorised officers may check compliance with the requirement to rehearse emergency and evacuation procedures by checking the service records. If the service has more than one emergency and evacuation procedure, all procedures must be rehearsed every three months.

Rehearsals should take place at various times of the day and week to ensure that everyone at the service gets the opportunity to rehearse. Services with children over preschool age should plan rehearsals to cover before and after school sessions, and vacation care. Rehearsals should be conducted to practice the use of all available and documented evacuation routes and exits.

Rehearsals must be documented. Documenting the rehearsal allows the service to reflect on its procedures and identify necessary adjustments. Records can show who has been involved in emergency rehearsals, to help ensure everyone participates regularly.

Family day care

In family day care services, this could be demonstrated by the family day care educator recording that they advised the service the rehearsals were completed and issues identified have been addressed. For example, if the educator cares for a number of infants and the residence is in a multi-storey building and how this is managed.

For more information about risk assessments of family day care residences and venues, refer to the information sheet on the ACECQA website.

2.11 Telephone or other communication equipment

 

National Regulations, Regulation 98 ]

The nominated supervisor and staff members must have ready access to an operating telephone or other similar means of communication to enable immediate communication to and from parents and emergency services. This requirement continues to apply when children are on an excursion or regular outing and at any time when transporting children.

The communication device must be capable of making and receiving calls without interruption or delay and can include fixed-line telephone, mobile phone, satellite phone, two-way radio, or video conferencing equipment.

Where a fixed-line telephone or mobile phone is used, a direct number to and from the service must be available to parents and emergency services for immediate contact at all times that children are attending the service. Telephone numbers of emergency services should also be placed near each means of communications. The approved provider should consider how educators can access the means of communications without having to leave children unsupervised.

2.12 Collection of children from premises

 

National Law & Regulations, Sections 165, 167, Regulations 99, 161 ]

The approved provider, nominated supervisor and family day care educator must make sure that a child being educated and cared for by the service does not leave the premises except where the child:

  • is given into the care of a parent, an authorised nominee named in the child’s enrolment record or a person authorised by a parent or authorised nominee, or
  • leaves in accordance with the written authorisation of the child’s parent or authorised nominee, or
  • is taken on an excursion or on transportation provided or arranged by the service with written authorisation from a parent or authorised nominee, or
  • is given into the care of a person or taken outside the premises because the child requires medical, hospital or ambulance care or treatment, or because of another emergency.
‘Parent’ includes a guardian of the child and a person who has parental responsibility for a child under a decision or order of a court. It does not include a parent prohibited by a court order from having contact with the child.

An approved provider can restrict a nominated person from collecting a child, for example if the service's policy does not allow children to be collected by a person under 16 of age.

Where authorised officers are concerned there may be non-compliance with this requirement, they should consider the policies and procedures in place at the service in relation to the delivery and collection of children, and the acceptance and refusal of authorisations required under regulation 168. This can assist the authorised officer determine whether the problem relates to implementing good practice, or whether there are broader issues with awareness and understanding of the requirement.

2.13 Excursions

 

National Law & Regulations, Section 167 Regulations 99–100 ]

Approved providers, nominated supervisors and family day care educators must ensure a risk assessment is carried out before children are taken on an excursion. Authorisation must also be obtained from parents and authorised nominees.

If the excursion is a regular outing, a risk assessment is not required if one has been conducted for the excursion within the previous 12 months.

Regular outing, in relation to an education and care service, means a walk, drive or trip to and from a destination:

  • that the service visits regularly as part of its educational program, and
  • where the circumstances relevant to the risk assessment are substantially the same on each outing.

An example of a change in circumstances at a family day care service relevant to the risk assessment for a regular outing, for example, that are substantially different might be when additional children attend, or there is a change in the location. Risks should be evaluated for each of the excursions to consider all relevant risks and how they are minimised. A risk assessment should not be completed for going to a shop, park and the local library all at once.

Ratios need to be considered across the group of children and educators attending the excursion. If two educators are going to the same destination at the same time with FDC children and have named the other educator as a support person, the ratio of all children attending needs to be considered in the risk assessments submitted by each educator.

An excursion does not include an outing organised by a service on a school site if the children leave the premises in the company of an educator and do not leave the school site. For example, a preschool group visiting the library within their school site, is not considered an excursion or regular outing.

Ratios and maximum number of children

An approved provider must ensure the maximum number of children is not exceeded during excursions.

Although the National Regulations do not specify a higher educator to child ratio for excursions, children must be adequately supervised at all times. A thorough risk assessment should determine whether the minimum ratios are sufficient to provide adequate supervision while attending an excursion.

Risk assessment

National Regulations, Regulation 101 ]

Risk assessments must identify and assess risks that the excursion may pose to the safety, health or wellbeing of any child taken on the excursion, and specify how the identified risks will be managed and minimised. A risk assessment must include assessment of the matters set out below.

Matters that must be considered in a risk assessment

The proposed route and destination for the excursion

Any water hazards

Risks associated with water-based activities

If the excursion involves transporting children:

(i) the means of transport

(ii) any requirements for seatbelts or safety restraints under a law of each jurisdiction in which the children are being transported

(iii) the process for entering and exiting the education and care service premises and the pick-up location or destination (as required)

(iv) procedures for embarking and disembarking the means of transport, including how each child is to be accounted for on embarking and disembarking

The number of adults and children involved in the excursion

The number of educators or other responsible adults appropriate to provide supervision and whether any adults with specialised skills are required

Proposed activities

Proposed duration of the excursion

The items that should be taken on the excursion.

Authorisation for excursions

National Regulations, Regulations 102, 161 ]

Authorisation must be given by a parent or other person named in the child’s enrolment record as having authority, given by a parent, to authorise taking the child outside the premises. The authorisation must state the information listed below.

 

Information that must be included in an authorisation for an excursion

The child’s name

The reason the child is to be taken outside the premises

If the authorisation is for a regular outing, a description of when the child is to be taken on the regular outings

If the authorisation is for an excursion that is not a regular outing, the date the chid is to be taken on the excursion

A description of the proposed destination for the excursion

If the excursion involves transporting children:

(i) the means of transport

(ii) any requirements for seatbelts or safety restraints under a law of each jurisdiction in which the children are being transported

The proposed activities to be undertaken by the child during the excursion

The period the child will be away from the premises

The anticipated number of children likely to be attending the excursion

The anticipated educator-to-child ratio for the excursion

The anticipated number of staff members and any other adults who will accompany and supervise the children on the excursion

That a risk assessment has been prepared and is available at the service.

If the excursion is a regular outing, the authorisation is only required to be obtained once in a 12 month period. Authorisations need to be kept on the child’s enrolment record.

Visit the ACECQA website for an optional excursion risk management plan template at www.acecqa.gov.au.
Visiting the proposed excursion destination may assist in identifying availability of toilets, hand washing, drinking and shade facilities, mobile phone coverage and access for emergency services.

2.14 Transportation

Children can be transported by, or be on transport arranged by, children’s education and care services. Service providers, nominated supervisors and educators need to take specific steps to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of children.

 

National Law & Regulations, Section 167 Regulation 102B–102D ]

Transportation may present additional risks to children depending on how it occurs, and particularly how they move between a vehicle and an education and care service premises or other location is managed. While these risks apply equally to single trips or during periods of regular transportation, there are specific requirements for periods of regular transportation. It is good practice for approved providers and nominated supervisors to apply requirements for regular transportation to all periods of transportation.

Transportation provided or arranged by an education and care service forms part of the service

Children are considered to be in the care of an education and care service at the point the service is taken to assume responsibility for their care and wellbeing. The National Law and National Regulations then apply. Approved providers are taken to assume responsibility under the National Law for the safety, health and wellbeing of all children at all times that children are in the care of the service/s. 

Transportation forms part of the education and care service if the service is responsible for children during that period of transportation. The responsibility for, and duty of care owed to, children applies in scenarios where education and care services are transporting children, or have arranged for the transportation of children, including between an education and care service premises and another location, for example their home, school, or a place of excursion. 

Examples of transport not forming part of an education and care service include: 

  • Private transport provided by families and carers (i.e. carers not engaged by/registered with an education and care service)
  • Transport provided and/or arranged by an entity other than the education and care approved provider, for example a school bus, and the children are not under the care of the approved provider
  • Transport where the education and care approved provider is providing the transport service in a capacity other than as the education and care approved provider - e.g. a government department that provides an education and care service, provides school education, and provides a school bus to school students, on which the children who attend the education and care service also travel for practical reasons (such as in a remote or rural location)
  • When a disability service picks up children and transports them to school or to an activity. 

Notification

National Regulations, Regulation 24(ha) and 175(2)(f) and (g) ]

Approved providers of centre-based services must notify the regulatory authority in a service approval application or, if the service is already approved, within 7 days of regular transportation being provided or arranged by the service and if the service ceases providing or arranging transportation. This applies at any point a centre-based service begins or ceases offering regular transportation. 

Approved providers do not need to notify the regulatory authority each time the circumstances of regular transportation change. 

It is intended that a single notification will encompass the whole time a service provides or arranges regular transportation. For example, a single notification could be made in March 2023 because the service starts arranging regular transportation three days per week. Another notification would not be required until the service has provided or arranged regular transportation for the final time. 

Applications and notifications can be submitted to the regulatory authority online using the National Quality Agenda IT System on the ACECQA website at www.acecqa.gov.au

Policies and procedures relating to transportation of children

National Regulations, Regulation 168(2)(ga) ]

For services that provide or arrange transportation of children, other than as part of an excursion, the approved provider must ensure the service has policies and procedures for transportation. This includes procedures that address all of the same requirements that must be addressed for parent/carer authorisations and risk assessments for transporting children (see below).

Risk assessments for transportation

National Regulations, Regulation 102C ]

Risk assessments must identify and assess risks that the transportation of a child may pose to the safety, health or wellbeing of the child, and specify how the identified risks will be managed and minimised. As a minimum, a risk assessment must include assessment of the matters set out below. Risks should be evaluated each time children are transported, unless the transportation is regular transportation.

Matters that must be considered in a risk assessment

The proposed route and duration of the transportation

The proposed pick-up location and destination

The means of transport

Any requirements for seatbelts or safety restraints under a law of each jurisdiction in which the children are being transported

Any water hazards

The number of adults and children involved in the transportation

Given the risks posed by transportation, the number of educators or other responsible adults that is appropriate to provide supervision and whether any adults with specialised skills are required

Whether any items should be readily available during transportation (for example, a mobile phone and list of emergency contact numbers for the children being transported)

The process for entering and exiting the education and care service premises and the pick-up location or destination (as required)

Procedures for embarking and disembarking the means of transport, including how each child is to be accounted for on embarking and disembarking

If the transportation is ‘regular transportation’, a risk assessment is not required if one has been conducted for the regular transportation of the child within the previous 12 months.

Regular transportation, in relation to an education and care service, means transportation by the service or arranged by the service (other than as part of an excursion) of a child being educated and cared for by the service, where the circumstances relevant to a risk assessment are substantially the same for each occasion on which the child is transported. An example of a change in circumstances that are substantially different might be when the means of transport or the transportation route or destination(s) have altered or the provider of the transportation service has changed.

Authorisations for transportation

National Regulations, Regulation 102D and 161 ]

Authorisation for a child to be transported must be given by a parent or other person named in the child’s enrolment record as having authority, given by a parent, to authorise transportation of a child. The authorisation must state the information listed below.

Information that must be included in an authorisation

The child’s name

The reason the child is to be transported

If the authorisation is for regular transportation, a description of when the child is to be transported

If the authorisation is not for regular transportation, the date the child is to be transported

A description of the proposed pick-up location and destination

The means of transport

The period of time during which the child is to be transported

The anticipated number of children likely to be transported

The anticipated number of staff members and any other adults who will accompany and supervise the children during the transportation

Any requirements for seatbelts or safety restraints under a law of each jurisdiction in which the children are being transported

That a risk assessment has been prepared and is available at the education and care service

That written policies and procedures for transporting children are available at the education and care service

If the transportation is regular transportation, the authorisation is only required to be obtained once in a 12-month period.

Person to be present while children embark and disembark during regular transportation, at an education and care service premises

Note: This regulation only applies to centre-based services. 

Centre-based services

National Regulations, Regulation 102E and 102F ]

There is greater risk to safety of children during the period of movement between a vehicle and an education and care service premises or other location. To help reduce those risks, the approved provider and nominated supervisor must ensure that there is at least one staff member or nominated supervisor present while children are embarking and disembarking the vehicle at the education and care service premises during regular transportation. The person present must be in addition to the driver of the vehicle, and they must account for each child as they embark and disembark. 

The approved provider and nominated supervisor must ensure the person conducts a check of the interior of the vehicle to ensure that no children remain on the vehicle. 

The person who is present as children embark a vehicle can be different to the person who is present when children disembark a vehicle. 

The person cannot be a volunteer or the driver of the vehicle (even if they are a staff member or nominated supervisor). The person may be a staff member who is not an educator, for example, an office staff member or a cook. 

For more information on how to maintain adequate supervision during transportation, how to account for children that have embarked and disembarked a vehicle, and how to conduct a check of a vehicle, read ACECQA's information sheets at www.acecqa.gov.au

Records

Note: This regulation only applies to centre-based services. 

Centre-based services

National Regulations, Regulation 102E and 102F ]

The approved provider and nominated supervisor must ensure that records are made when a child is transported during regular transportation provided or arranged by an education and care service. 

A record must be made immediately after all children have embarked the vehicle that states: 

  • Confirmation that each child was accounted for when embarking the vehicle at the education and care service premises
  • How each child was accounted for when embarking the vehicle at the education and care service premises
  • The name and signature of the person who accounted for the children who embarked
  • The time and date the record was made. 

A record must be made immediately after all children have disembarked the vehicle that states: 

  • Confirmation that each child was accounted for when disembarking the vehicle at the education and care service premises
  • How each child was accounted for when disembarking the vehicle at the education and care service premises
  • That the interior of the vehicle was checked after all children disembarked the vehicle at the education and care service premises
  • The name and signature of the person or persons who accounted for the children who disembarked and completed the check of the vehicle
  • The time and date the record was made. 

These records must be kept until the end of 3 years after the last date on which the child was educated and cared for by the service. 

As long as all of the above requirements are met, these records may be kept in one document. 
 

2.15 Other important factors relating to the safe transportation of children

Passenger Safety

It is expected school age children will wear correctly fitted and adjusted seatbelts where they are available in the vehicle. For children under school age, approved providers must ensure children are safely fastened in the correct child car seat for their size and age. Jurisdictional agencies with responsibility for road safety may prescribe specific safety requirements for transporting children that must be observed.

First Aid Requirements

First aid requirements apply when transport is provided as part of the education and care service, and must be met in each vehicle (regulation 136).

An approved provider must ensure that the following qualified people are at all times in attendance at any place where children are being educated and cared for by the service and they are immediately available in an emergency:

  • at least one staff member or one Nominated Supervisor of the service who holds a current approved first aid qualification
  • at least one staff member or one Nominated Supervisor of the service who has undertaken current approved anaphylaxis management training
  • at least one staff member or one Nominated Supervisor of the service who has undertaken current approved emergency asthma management training.

Educator to child ratio requirements 

The educator to child ratio requirements apply wherever education and care is taking place, including on any transport provided or arranged by the service. 

To be counted towards satisfying the requirements, educators must be working directly with children (regulation 122), meet the qualification requirements for educators at centre-based services (regulation 126), and hold a valid working with children or vulnerable person check (jurisdiction specific requirements apply). 

If the driver of the vehicle meets these requirements, the driver may be counted towards meeting the educator to child ratio requirements that apply to the service, during the period of transportation. Services should consider whether additional staff or adults are required on the vehicle, and where they are positioned to maintain adequate supervision. 

Adequate Supervision and Protection from harm/hazards

Approved providers, nominated supervisors and family day care educators must ensure that every reasonable precaution is taken to protect children being educated and cared for by the service from harm and hazards likely to cause injury (section 167).

A number of factors should be considered when determining if supervision of children during transportation is adequate, including:

  • the number, age and level of development of children
  • visibility and accessibility of passengers by the educator
  • risks inherent in the means of transport
  • risks inherent in the environment, location or route
  • the experience, knowledge and skill of each educator
  • the requirements of the individual children
  • the capacity of an educator to immediately respond to a situation requiring urgent intervention.

Once educator to child ratio requirements are met, if additional adults are required to maintain adequate supervision, children may be supervised by a responsible adult. A responsible adult is a capable adult who has adequate knowledge and understanding of, and the ability to provide effective supervision of, children on transportation. This may include a staff member, a nominated supervisor, anyone employed or working for the service or a volunteer. 

Consideration should be given to where adults are positioned during transportation to best meet the safety and supervision needs of children. Whenever possible, there should be an adult positioned at the back of the vehicle to aid their visibility of children. 

Check of the vehicle at the education and care service premises 

For regular transportation, a nominated supervisor or staff member (other than the driver) must conduct a check of the interior of the vehicle to ensure that no children remain on the vehicle after all the children have disembarked at the service premises. A record must be kept that records the name and signature of the person who completed the check. Consideration should be given to how the check is completed. For example, a nominated supervisor or staff member could enter the vehicle and perform a physical check of each seat and any other space, including under the seats, in luggage racks and in any storage compartments, to make sure that there are no children present. It is good practice for vehicles to be checked during all periods of transportation and every time that children disembark, including when all children have exited the vehicle at their homes or at a school. 

Insurance

Approved providers must ensure that their insurance coverage extends to the transport provided as part of the service, including family day care services.

For more information, see ACECQA's information sheets on Safe transportation of children and Safe transportation of children 'your questions answered' at www.acecqa.gov.au.

2.16 Responsibilities of the approved provider, nominated supervisor and family day care educator

Requirement

Approved provider

Nominated supervisor

Family day care educator

Offence

Infringement notice

Compliance direction

Waiver*

Precautions to be taken to protect children from harm or hazards (section 167)

     

Health, hygiene and safe food practices (regulation 77)

 

 

Food and beverages (regulation 78)

 

 

Service providing food and beverages (regulation 79)

 

 

Weekly menu (regulation 80)

 

 

Tobacco, drug and alcohol free environment (regulation 82)

 

 

 

Staff members and family day care educators not to be affected by alcohol or drugs (regulation 83)

 

 

Awareness of child protection law (regulation 84)

   

 

 

Sleep and rest (regulation 84A)      
Risk assessment for purposes of sleep and rest policies and procedures (regulation 84C)          
Prohibition of bassinets (regulation 84D)    

Incident, injury, trauma and illness policies and procedures (regulation 85)

           

Notification to parents of incident, injury, trauma and illness (regulation 86)

   

     

Incident, injury, trauma and illness record (regulation 87)

 

       

Infectious diseases (regulation 88)

   

     

First aid kits (regulation 89)

 

 

 

Medical conditions policy (regulation 90)

           

Medical conditions policy to be provided to parents (regulation 91)

       

 

Medication record (regulation 92)

 

       

Administration of medication (regulation 93)

     

Exception to authorisation requirement – anaphylaxis or asthma emergency (regulation 94)

       

Procedure for administration of medication (regulation 95)

           

Self-administration of medication (regulation 96)

           

Emergency and evacuation procedures (regulation 97)

   

 

 

Telephone or other communication equipment (regulation 98)

   

 

 

Children leaving the education and care service premises
(regulation 99)

     

Risk assessment must be conducted before excursion
(regulation 100)

     

Conduct of risk assessment for excursion (regulation 101)

       

Authorisation for excursions (regulation 102)

     

Transport risk assessment must be conducted before service transports child (regulation 102B)

     

Conduct of risk assessment for transporting of children by the education and care service (regulation 102C)

       

Authorisation for service to transport children (regulation 102D)

     
Accounting for children embarking a means of transport for regular transportation and making a record (regulation 102E)        
Accounting for children disembarking a means of transport for regular transportation and making a record (regulation 102F)        

* Waivers do not apply to any of these requirements.

2.17 Useful contacts

Food authorities

State or territory

Authority

Website

Australian Capital Territory

ACT Health
Health Protection Service

health.act.gov.au

New South Wales

NSW Food Authority

foodauthority.nsw.gov.au

Northern Territory

NT Department of Health Environmental Health

health.nt.gov.au

Queensland

Qld Health
Food Safety Policy and Regulation Unit

health.qld.gov.au

South Australia

Department of Health
Food Policy and Programs Branch

sahealth.sa.gov.au

Tasmania

Department of Health and Human Services Food Unit

dhhs.tas.gov.au

Victoria

Food Safety and Regulation

health.vic.gov.au

(Note: providers in Victoria need to contact their local council for food business registration)

Western Australia

WA Department of Health Environmental Health, Food Unit

public.health.wa.gov.au

Public health units

State or territory

Authority

Website

Australian Capital Territory

ACT Health
Health Protection Service, Communicable Disease Control

health.act.gov.au

New South Wales

NSW Health – Public Health Division

health.nsw.gov.au

Northern Territory

NT Department of Health Centre for Disease Control

health.nt.gov.au

Queensland

Qld Health – Communicable Diseases Branch

health.qld.gov.au

South Australia

SA Health – Communicable Disease Control Branch

sahealth.sa.gov.au

Tasmania

Department of Health and Human Services Public and Environmental Health Service

dhhs.tas.gov.au

Victoria

Vic Department of Health, Communicable Disease and Prevention Unit

health.vic.gov.au

Western Australia

WA Department of Health, Communicable Disease Control Directorate

public.health.wa.gov.au

State and territory working with children screening units

State or territory

Authority

Website

Australian Capital Territory

ACT Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate

accesscanberra.act.gov.au

New South Wales

New South Wales Office of the Children’s Guardian

ocg.nsw.gov.au

Northern Territory

Northern Territory Government

nt.gov.au

Queensland

Queensland Blue Card Services

bluecard.qld.gov.au

South Australia

South Australia Screening Unit of the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion (DCSI)

screening.dcsi.sa.gov.au

Tasmania

Tasmania Department of Justice

www.justice.tas.gov.au/working_with_children

Victoria

Victoria Justice and Regulation

workingwithchildren.vic.gov.au

Western Australia

Western Australia Department of Communities

workingwithchildren.wa.gov.au