Coping with crisis: Learning lessons from accidents in the early years
by Bernadine Laverty & Catherine Reay
A Graph Review : good consistent level of information and style: 50-56
Includes diagrams, many useful links and index.
The coverage is defined as for ‘all staff working with children in settings registered on the Early Years Register and the Childcare Register’. The focus is on real accidents and situations and looks at what went wrong to try to eliminate its causes. Their is also considerable information and advice on the regulations on safety and reporting of accidents.
Basic development of babies and young children are listed. Descriptions of real accidents are given throughout the different subject areas and consequences. Each Followed by a ‘Back to the team’ checklist that offers needs and actions under the headings of: Plan, Do, Check, Act. Different ‘accidents’ have differing suggestions for each heading as basic examples. If these are used as initial safety checklists then additional action points could be included to cover such as details required by contractors, information/ notices for staff, parents and so on. The importance of assessing and providing safe environments should be a continual part of all staff training as well as a key person. Safety is a priority but so is reflection after difficult events.
The thoroughness and concern of the authors speaks volumes as they highlight each example of accident with additional known children who have suffered. They also point out that gathering full statistics was not feasible at the time as reporting level was a variable regulation in parts, e.g. Visitors. Ideal for small units and individuals as well as growing or bigger ‘units’. The age and range covers childcare, nursery, reception class but not apparently much older. The child’s abilities and reactions my change in age but the thinking behind the checklists is still relevant as they move up in Primary years. Indeed the range of ‘crisis-management’ expands rapidly as children move into years five and six upwards. This book may still be a good starting point as reference for new staff with its attitude to reflective practice and use of guidelines while attendance to more medical courses will add the extra dimensions required.
A short section of ‘Key points’ is available as well as ‘On Reflection’ which covers areas to be considered after any accident. One area that seems to consistently appear is on parental information given on such as the ‘inquisitiveness’ or physical ability, allergies and so on that should be noted and known by all staff. This is where the checklists provided can give a solid start to the thinking process required to improve any failings in equipment or procedures, including training.
The book covers many aspects on accidents: with equipment, scolds and burns, trapped fingers, choking, falls, infections, and others, even near-misses. This review may make it seem the book itself highlights all the dangers and is just depressing and off-putting. Well, partially, but in the real world accidents do happen no matter where children are and this book may well be the first to highlight the rules and regulations of safety and reporting of accidents in Early Years settings.
And positively to offer systems to pre-empt accidents as far as possible and to minimise failings in all areas. Being prepared is what it is all about because we all know that in the best of circumstances accidents still happen1
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