How safe are our chil­dren in nurs­eries?

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPEAK UP -

pae­di­atric emer­gen­cies.

We in­cluded six com­mon emer­gen­cies: chok­ing, poi­son­ing, seizures, drown­ing, head in­juries and sim­ple frac­tures. We had ap­proached 81 reg­is­tered nurs­eries and 42 con­sented to take part in the study. The most se­nior teacher from each nurs­ery was ap­proached. They were given six dif­fer­ent sce­nar­ios and asked to iden­tify the emer­gency and out­line the first aid steps that they would per­form to help the child.

The re­sults were not en­cour­ag­ing. Re­mem­ber that this eval­u­a­tion was based on the most se­nior/ex­pe­ri­enced per­son in the cen­tre and that 69% of par­tic­i­pants had first aid train­ing.

Although the teach­ers were good in iden­ti­fy­ing the emer­gen­cies, none of them pos­sessed good or av­er­age knowl­edge in man­ag­ing com­mon emer­gen­cies. The ma­jor­ity knew less than 70% of the right steps to take and were of­ten out of se­quence. Only four nurs­eries had first aid al­go­rithms to re­fer to dur­ing an emer­gency and these teach­ers tended to fare bet­ter in the assess­ment.

Cur­rent poli­cies re­quire reg­is­tered nurs­eries to have some min­i­mum safety stan­dards.

These in­clude mak­ing avail­able a first aid kit (all but one nurs­ery au­dited had first aid kits avail­able) and hav­ing some train­ing in han­dling emer­gen­cies (69% had first aid train­ing). But our study found that these were in­suf­fi­cient to sup­port our young chil­dren.

We would like to thank these nurs­eries for the courage to al­low us to au­dit them. This of­fered them op­por­tu­ni­ties to im­prove the qual­ity of care at their cen­tre.

The nurs­eries tak­ing part in the study were given a copy of the al­go­rithms to serve as a ref­er­ence guide in case of an emer­gency.

We are cer­tain that teach­ers work­ing at nurs­eries would like to have the knowl­edge and skills to sup­port chil­dren when faced with an emer­gency.

Call­ing for help, while use­ful, may take too long to help a child. We rec­om­mend that all nurs­eries:

Dis­play im­por­tant first aid al­go­rithms to aid ac­tion dur­ing emer­gen­cies (see these links: www.crc.gov.my/pub­li­ca­tion-crc-ipoh/ or www.crc.gov.my/wp-con­tent/ up­loads/2016/11/al­go­rithms2.pdf ).

Have a com­plete first aid kit that is checked pe­ri­od­i­cally.

Have all teach­ers trained in first aid. This should in­clude a for­mal Pae­di­atric Ba­sic Life Sup­port (BLS) course for at least one staff mem­ber.

We strongly en­cour­age par­ents to eval­u­ate the safety pro­file of nurs­eries be­fore en­rolling their chil­dren.

If this study showed the lim­ited safety ca­pac­ity of reg­is­tered nurs­eries, imag­ine the sit­u­a­tion in the nu­mer­ous un­reg­is­tered child­care providers and nurs­eries in our coun­try.

We need to work to­gether as a so­ci­ety to im­prove the qual­ity and safety of child-care providers and nurs­eries in our coun­try.

Dr Arvin­der Singh HS Re­search Of­fi­cer Datuk Dr Amar-Singh HSS Head Clin­i­cal Re­search Cen­tre Perak

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