by Brad Shrum
This month’s church safety post focuses on the nursery ministry that takes place during your church’s worship service.
Church-operated nurseries and toddler areas can be enriching for children and serve as convenient programs for parents while they are attending worship services. However, churches that have nurseries and toddler areas onsite must be fully aware of the risks associated with caring for young children. A variety of steps must be taken to minimize those risks with proper safety and security measures. Ultimately, the church must assume full responsibility for the well-being of every child entrusted to the organization.
Any area in the church that is used for a nursery or toddler care should be inspected on a weekly basis to identify potential hazards. Modifications to the area also may be necessary so it provides children with the safest and most secure environment possible.
Here are some Room Set Up tips for a healthy environment within a nursery:
Have procedures in place for warming bottles to protect children from burn injuries.
Keep diapering areas separate from children's play areas.
Equip doors to closets, hallways, and other rooms with a lock.
Drapery and blind cords
Keep drapery and blind cords out of reach of cribs and children, as they a pose strangulation and entanglement hazard.
Any dresser, shelves, or similar equipment should be appropriately anchored to the wall to prevent them from accidentally tipping over.
Any lower drawers of dressers, file cabinets, or similar furniture should be equipped with appropriate latches to keep children from being able to open them.
First aid kit
Keep a kit in an accessible location;
Inventory the kit on a regular basis; and
Keep a log of when and who conducted the inventory.
Hot water temperature
Periodically test hot water temperature to ensure that the temperature does not exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Keep a log of when and who tested the water.
Things to Note...
Along with the room set up, there are also items such as electrical outlets being covered, the need for a carbon monoxide detector, smoke detectors in the room areas, and any television, audiovisual equipment, and cords and wires to be safely out of a child’s harm's way.
While much of a nursery ministry can and should be managed with a common sense child safety approach, there should be a quarterly inspection conducted with the children’s minister and volunteer staff empathizing all of these mentioned characteristics.
Volunteer staff will be the subject of later blogs as the risk management needs are vital and far-reaching.
These tips about a Nursery Safety Ministry are from the GuideOne SafeChurch risk management program, an exclusive benefit for GuideOne church customers. Is your church insured with GuideOne? You can join SafeChurch.com today and access other safety resources.
Are you a member of your congregation’s team that is responsible for choosing insurance for your church? I would love to help you. Contact me direct at 913-754-3823 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I am located in our Overland Park, KS office location and would be happy to meet at your congregation.
Source: © 2010 GuideOne Center for Risk Management, LLC
Location: Overland Park, KS
Brad has worked at MAX for the past 16 years and has over 30 years of experience in the insurance industry doing underwriting, field management work, and sales. Outside of the office, Brad is an ordained Southern Baptist Deacon and a Sunday School teacher of 30 years. In addition, Brad is a long-time Vacation Bible School teacher and has an ongoing 20+ year Nursing Home Ministry. Since he was a young teenager, Brad has been an avid goose hunter, traveling across North America while pursuing this noble bird and enjoying the outdoor world.