Serious incidents are on the rise, SA Regulatory Authority warns, giving safety tips

Serious incidents are on the rise, SA Regulatory Authority warns, giving safety tips

by Freya Lucas

October 01, 2021

The Education Standards Board (ESB) is continuing to see a rise in the number of serious incidents occurring in early childhood education and care (ECEC) services, in which children are missing, unaccounted for, or have been mistakenly locked in or out of a service. 


These incidents, the ESB said, often occur at transition times, when children are moving from indoor to outdoor activities, from outdoor to indoor, or moving from room to room. 


There has also been an increase in educators and families entering and exiting rooms and bathrooms and leaving the door open behind them, allowing for serious incidents to occur. 


As services have made changes to arrival and departure procedures, in line with COVID-19 protocols, the ESB warned that such changes must also consider how adequate and active supervision is maintained to ensure the safety of children at all times. 


Common locations for serious incidents – inside – include: 


  • children’s rooms
  • bathrooms
  • hallways
  • foyers


In the outside space, serious incidents are occuring on play equipment, including cubby houses, fences (scaling and absconding), on busses, and whilst visiting external sites, such as school grounds. 


To avoid serious incidents occurring, the ESB recommends services review the ACECQA website, which contains useful resources about active supervision


“Don’t miss an opportunity to check where all children are at all times,” an ESB representative said. “Adequate and active supervision is essential to keeping children safe.”

Services should ensure that they have clear policies, procedures and routines that are consistently followed and reviewed, particularly if the usual staff are not present or routines change. This, the ESB wrote, is vital to avoiding the likelihood of these serious incidents.


For more information about active supervision, please see here