SA regulatory authority reminds educators – small objects and small children don’t mix
Small objects and small children don’t mix, South Australia’s regulatory authority, the Education Standards Board (ESB) has warned, reminding those responsible for setting and resetting children’s learning environments to be mindful of the hazards presented by small objects which could be a choking risk.
Children under three, the ESB said, should not have access to small objects that could be a choking hazard, something which the regulatory authority has found can be an issue in outdoor environments.
“Bark mulch or pebbles are common materials we see used outdoors at education and care services. Small children are attracted to these objects and may put them in their mouths,” the regulator noted.
“Our policy on this is outlined in our safety in children’s environments policy position. It includes ensuring children under three are not allowed access to small objects. This applies to all new service approvals from 1 November 2019 and services that undertake significant outdoor upgrades.”
As a “rule of thumb” anything smaller than a D-size battery is considered a choking risk by the authority.
South Australian services approved from 1 November 2019 onwards should:
- Ensure children under three do not have access to small objects that could cause choking.
- This may include having policies to ensure small objects are not brought in from home.
Services approved prior to 1 November 2019 should consider the following options:
- Replace small objects with more suitable materials where possible or when upgrading.
- Carry out risk assessments and have practices in place to reduce risk.
For further information, the ESB recommends the following resources:
- Outdoor learning environments: best practice principles, Education Standards Board fact sheet
- Babies and outdoor play, ACECQA information sheet
- Information sheets on playground safety by KidsafeSA
- Guidance on buying safe toys and making a DIY safety tool for checking the size of small objects from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
To access the original guidance, please see here.