Child drawing at nursery

Why biometrics are a must for childcare

Almas Team

How can you prevent unauthorised access to your nursery? Or prevent children from escaping?

Security within the childcare sector has become a major concern for today’s parents. The opportunity to learn should never be compromised by issues of safety and security. How can you prevent unauthorised access to your nursery? Or prevent children from escaping? In this article we will look into the childcare sector and see what biometric security solutions have to offer.


Gunmen and wandering children

Day nurseries can have superb staff, play facilities and excellent safeguarding, but if they don’t get the fundamentals of security right, they are risking a bad Ofsted report. Or worse, an incident in which a child, staff member or parent is hurt or abducted. There are many recorded incidents of children escaping from UK nurseries, either because the staff had failed to notice them or because doors were not secured. Worryingly, in many cases, the staff had no idea anything had happened until the child was located and returned to the establishment.

  • Sara Reid’s three-year-old walked half a mile home from nursery along a busy road after slipping past staff without them noticing
  • Kelly Casey’s daughter escaped from Tiddlywinks Day Nursery in Crumpsall and staff were unaware until she was returned by another parent
  • Toddler Jacob Hamilton opened doors and escaped from Playtime Nursery in south London, walking back home
  • Liam Radcliffe went missing after staff failed to see him in a head count because he had a colander on his head

In a potentially more dangerous case in 2017, a gunman walked into a nursery in Wavertree, outside Liverpool. Luckily Childsplay had a biometric security system, which stopped the man getting beyond the entrance.

These incidents beg the question, should all nurseries and childcare establishments use biometric access control to prevent children from escaping and unauthorised entry?


What the government says

Ofsted’s “Early Years: Safe and Sound” (2006) report states that outstanding providers investigate any accidents, rehearse safety procedures and have ‘very effective measures in place to ensure the premises are secure and that children are collected only by authorised adults’. These include:

“a biometric system on entrances and exits ensures that only parents and staff whose fingerprints are registered on the system can gain access to the nursery… Parents registered with the nursery can enter and leave while staff continue to concentrate on caring for the children.”

This is very sensible advice but in reality, there are still many childcare establishments who don’t use biometric systems to secure their premises. The reasons for this are usually a lack of understanding as to what biometrics have to offer, concerns about the costs involved and worries over the impact of GDPR and privacy laws.


Security systems for childcare

A biometric access control system can replace the need for keys, fobs or pin codes. These systems range from quite simple single-entry fingerprint readers through to more complex multipoint entry systems. With a biometric fingerprint reader, you decide who has access to your nursery; unauthorised people cannot gain entry. You can also control access to specific parts of your building: for example, allowing parents to enter only the reception area while staff can access the whole building. This means that you always have control of who comes in the building. Moreover, people can have their permissions revoked at the click of a button if needed.

Biometric fingerprint readers are widely accepted as being one of the most secure forms of biometric control. Fingerprints cannot be lost, stolen, duplicated or changed. With the addition of a bolt-on package, systems such as the one offered by Almas Industries can be used to track time and attendance as well, so employee management becomes easier and less time-consuming.

Combining a biometric access control system with video surveillance further creates a very powerful security system, allowing you to monitor not just the entrances and exits of your building, but the children and staff within it too.


Security and Data Protection

Almas Industries biometric fingerprint readers meet the highest standards of security, combining cutting-edge technology with the best biometric components. We use patented encryption technology with a highly accurate algorithm. We never capture or store a complete image of a person fingerprint. Furthermore, it’s not possible to use any fingerprint data outside of the system. We take security seriously and comply with international regulations.

If you are thinking of implementing a CCTV or biometrics solution you need to undertake a security audit. This will identify if there is a need for such technology and what the benefit will be to your business. We have a strong presence in the early years’ sector and provide over 500 childcare establishments with security solutions. We will advise you of your responsibilities under GDPR and can provide a range of tools to help with security compliance.


Solutions that work

Tanya Schorman has been a customer of Almas Industries since 2015. Her nursery in Dublin, KidBiz has several biometric fingerprint readers which control access to the nursery. She chose a biometric system because she was concerned about the safety of the children she cares for:

“When we started an after-school service, the eldest children began to read the latch of the door. I wanted something that they could not access. Almas approached us and their biometric system solved the problem completely. The children cannot open the door as their fingerprints are not on the system. The parents really like the system and are impressed by how easy it is to use once set up. I get security and peace of mind knowing that people who are not registered cannot enter the building”.


Much better safe than sorry

Almas Industries are experts in security solutions for day nurseries and creches. We provide CCTV and intruder alarms with full monitoring options. Affordable, full-service solutions. We offer a range of payment options, including no upfront cost. Almas manufacture our own biometric readers and develop our own software. Our customers have access to a technical hotline 24/7 and customer service is our priority. We are able to provide integrated systems to any type of nursery or childcare centre. You can arrange your free, no obligation security survey by calling us on 0333 567 6677. If you prefer, you can always send a confidential email via [email protected].