How to address parents’ security concerns in a nursery setting
There are many things that run through a parent’s mind when they leave their little one at your nursery. Are they going to be safe, are they going to be properly taken care of, will my child be having fun and learning? Nursery security concerns are on their mind and that means they should be on yours too.
After all, it can be incredibly nerve-wracking leaving your child with essentially a stranger for many hours, hoping that everything will be okay. There is a huge amount of trust involved and it is especially important for nurseries to be able to help alleviate these concerns.
The only problem is, how can you tackle these issues if you don’t know what they are? Hopefully, by the end of this blog, you’ll know exactly what you can be doing to help support parents at your nursery.
What do we mean by nursery security concerns?
Security concern in this regard is simply a vulnerability that can pose a threat to the safety of the children that stay at the nursery.
Due to the nature of nurseries and dealing with children, there are many risks that will need to be safeguarded against.
Some examples of security concerns for nurseries:
- Unauthorised access – Strangers could potentially enter the premises without your knowledge.
- Changing parental custody arrangements – how do you make sure all staff are aware and avoid any mistakes or conflict?
- Children escaping – Without proper measurements in place, there is the potential for a child to escape, or be taken.
- External play areas – are they secure and safe?
- Staff risk – Member of staff could potentially suffer injuries from being attacked or assaulted.
- Theft, robbery, or vandalism – business interruption, insurance claims and impact on staff morale impacts your business exponentially.
- Health and safety liability – Workers, children, parents, and visitors could be harmed or injured if proper precautions have not been put in place.
How can these impact nursery owners if not properly accounted for?
It is safe to say that the damages that could be incurred are huge if these concerns are not taken seriously by nursery owners. Hefty fines, reputation loss and the potential of being shut down are just some of the things that could happen as a result.
In fact, there are approximately 62 children under the age of 5 that die every year as a result of an accident, with accidental injury accounting for one of the most common causes of death in children over 1 year of age. Safety in your nursery is not a matter that you will take lightly, but are you looking at it from a parent’s point of view?
What security concerns do parents have?
Reputation damage can be an incredibly detrimental thing for your nursery and bad word-of-mouth can spread very quickly. Don’t just take our word for it, popular mums’ forum Mumsnet has many cases of nurseries that have not taken their security very seriously, causing panic and outrage in the forums.
Example 1 – Children escaping:
A poster named ‘distressed’ had created a thread named ‘please help – alarming, dangerous incident at nursery’ to which they wrote:
“What happened was that he found one of dc’s friends (aged 2) walking on the pavement outside the nursery. DH asked him where his mummy was – it turns out she wasn’t around at all. He had somehow got out of the nursery all by himself. I dread to think what could have happened to him. It is all too easy to imagine that he might have walked out into the road and got run over.”
Other posters had replied to the thread saying:
“jesus – no you’re not overeacting. That’s horrendous. Yes complain to ofsted and LA if they are not complying with staffing ratios. What the hell did they say when DH took him back in the nursery?
If it was me I would probably look for other childcare – nursery or whatever”.
“You must complain and if necessary, take it up with Ofsted.”
“You *must* report this. This incident is a breach of their most fundamental duty, which is the safety of the children in their care. If you don’t report it, how would you feel if it happened again and a child was injured or even killed?
At the very least the local authority or Ofsted will ensure that they change their practices to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
There was a terrifying incident in Stone, Staffordshire in July 2023, where a child got through a hole in the nursery’s fencing and absconded into the town centre. Luckily despite a near miss on a crossing, they were found safe and sound thanks to a neighbour who saw them. The nursery management took quick steps to improve procedures, but the staff were devastated and naturally the parents were extremely concerned.
Example 2 – Abduction by a parent:
Another poster named ‘GoldRhino’ had created a thread named ‘To think there are probably more attempted abductions of kids than we think?’ to which they wrote:
“My aim in this thread is to spread awareness- apologies if it annoys anyone.
In the last few years we have had at least 4 attempted abductions of kids from local schools (‘naice area’). Our school sent out alerts to let everyone know. There were various men in vans attempting to grab kids and two children that we know well narrowly escaped being dragged into a car just around the corner from our house last year and were really traumatised.
Then earlier today I saw the headline about the Line of Duty actresses’ son who nearly got abducted yesterday in Beckenham. He was 11 and walking home from school.
All of these events have made me very concerned about letting my kids walk home alone.
I’m also wondering why these attempted abductions don’t get more press attention so that others are more aware.”
Other posters had replied to the thread saying:
“I think you’re probably right. We’re always told child abduction is incredibly rare, but there seem to be a lot of attempted abductions. I know of a few locally to me and we’re in a small town.”
“A lady tried to get my friend’s 5 year old DD to go with her in a park a few weeks ago. The child actually did start to follow her but obviously my friend ran and grabbed her. It makes me feel sick. That’s the only case I’ve heard of but still worrying.”
“We had one very recently, just down the road. Local police force posted on social media that they’d arrested the man.
The amount of burglaries, car thefts, assaults and anti social behaviour aren’t being dealt with. It’s going to hell round here.”
In fact there had been news report of 2 attempted abductions that occurred in Wales in 2016.
As you can see, the damage can be incredibly detrimental, so why not assess the risks and prevent the damage from occurring in the first place?
What solutions can you put in place to protect from security risks?
Secure and protect your building
Before the development of biometrics, nurseries used to rely on traditional forms of security measures such as keys, fobs, cards, and keypads to help prevent unauthorised access. The problem with these methods is that they can be lost, and prone to abuse. It is also difficult to know exactly who is in your building and precisely when they had been able to gain access.
With the power of biometric access control systems, you can do exactly that whilst taking complete control over your building. That means having the ability to grant access to certain locations and to specific individuals. You can also rest assured as biometric fingerprint readers are one of the most secure forms of control as fingerprints are unique and cannot be lost, stolen, duplicated, or changed. Other options include Bluetooth Access Control, Video Intercoms (best in conjunction with another form of access control or it’s incredibly disruptive for the staff!) and RFID readers.
Comprehensive care and security
Biometric access control is a great first step, but combining it with a CCTV safety monitoring system creates a comprehensive security system, that will monitor entrances and exits, and also the staff, children and any visitors that come to your nursery. CCTV and biometric readers integrated will alert you if a door is propped open or is insecure – log on and check the footage to see the few seconds before and after the event to reassure yourself no child has escaped.
CCTV acts as a strong deterrent for burglars and prevent potential vandalism, whilst simultaneously creating a safe environment that helps to investigate and subsequently reduce the risk of health and safety issues such as slips, trips, or falls.
Alleviate security concerns and help parents to rest easy
Almas are experts in security for nurseries and early years’ childcare sector – check out what our customers’ say about us- Testimonials and Case Studies
We will help you to build an integrated security solution that will protect your nursery and can advise you of your responsibilities under GDPR. We offer a range of payment options, including no upfront cost and full maintenance. Almas’ customers have access to emergency technical support 24/7 and strict SLAs which are tailored around safeguarding issues.
As businesses grow and evolve, pandemics ebb and flow, risks change. Contact the team at Almas Industries today to discuss biometric access control, biometric readers, or facial scanners for your business.
You can get in touch by calling 0333 567 6677 (UK) or 01 68 333 68 (Ireland). If you prefer, you can always send a confidential email.