Lost Child Policy
Children’s safety is always maintained at the highest priority both on and off the premises
We have put into place thorough systems and procedures which are an integral part of staff training and should ensure that children do not go missing or get lost whilst in our care. If the Early Years Centre policies and procedures are being observed the likelihood of a child being lost is minimal. To ensure that children are not lost while in the care of the nursery we:
- Carefully always supervise children.
- Maintain appropriate staff: child ratios always.qa
- Closely monitor children in and out of the building, ensuring that when the children are going out on trips or even to the garden the signing in and out sheet is taken with staff along with emergency contact details.
- Ensure that visitors to the nursery are always supervised.
- Twice daily a risk assessment is carried out in every area where children play.
- If an outing is organized, a risk assessment will be carried out before leaving the premises.
Very occasionally a child may become separated from the group on an outing or become lost.
With careful planning and co-operative working amongst staff, children should not be out of sight of an adult at any time.
In the unlikely event that a child is unaccounted for on the premises, the following policy will be followed:
- The Nursery will ensure a responsible person can help undertake a thorough search of the nursery and the immediate vicinity.
- The manager will be notified, and security called to help with the search
- The premises, including the entire Nursery, garden, and all surrounding areas will be searched, together with as many volunteers as possible.
- The signing in sheet is to be checked to make sure no other child is missing and to check the child has not been collected.
- Doors and gates to be checked to see if there has been a breach of security whereby a child could wander out.
- If, following a thorough search of the nursery and the immediate vicinity, the child cannot be found the police will be called and the child’s parents will be notified without delay.
In the unlikely event of a child being lost while on a trip or outing the following procedures will be followed:
- As soon as it is noticed that a child is missing staff on the outing ask children to stand with their designated person and carry out a headcount to ensure no other child has gone astray.
- One staff member to immediately undertake a thorough search of the immediate vicinity.
- Phone 999 (give your name, location, name and description of the child/staff, name of the nursery, and any other relevant information e.g., any medical conditions of child)
- Nursery manager to be notified as soon as possible (if not already present), and to inform venue (shop, library, museum etc)
- Manager/deputy to go to venue/ location.
- Nursery manager to contact parents/ child protection officer and keep them informed of what is happening
- Staff to return other children safely to the nursery when manager arrives.
- Manager/responsible person to wait for police/ ambulance in case of injured persons
- Staff must do a written record of events.
- Notify Ofsted
- Staff keep calm and do not let the other children become anxious or worried.
- Nursery manager to speak with parents
- Management team carry out full investigation taking written statements from all staff who were on the outing
- The manager writes an incident report detailing
- The date and time of the report
- What staff/children were in the group/outing and the name of the staff member responsible.
- When the last child was last seen in the group.
- What has taken place in the group or outing since the child went missing?
- The time estimated the child went missing.
- A conclusion is drawn as to how the breach of security happened.
- The insurance provider informed.
Missing child incidents are extremely worrying for all concerned. Part of managing the incidents is to try to keep everyone as calm as possible. The staff will feel worried about the child; especially the member of staff who was responsible for the child whilst on the outing. They may blame themselves and their feelings of anxiety and distress will rise as the length of time that the child is missing increases. Nursery Manager should ensure that the staff feel supported while they are feeling vulnerable.
The parents will feel angry and fraught. They may want to blame staff and single out one member over others; they may direct anger at the nursery manager. No matter how understandable the parent’s anger may be, aggression or threats against staff are not tolerated and security should be called.
The other children are also sensitive to what is going on around them. They too may be worried. The remaining staff caring for the children need to focus on their needs and must not discuss the incident in front of them. They should answer children’s questions honestly but also reassure them.
THIS POLICY WAS REVIEWED BY Brittany V – 18/04/2023