A creche owner who removed books from playrooms because the children were “wrecking them” and who sent children to a “thinking chair” for bad behaviour was found to be in widespread breach of childcare regulations following an inspection.
Amy’s House, Church View, Claregalway, Co Galway, a private childcare facility visited in January by HSE inspectors, failed to meet 13 out of 27 childcare regulations. Notably, vetting procedures were not completed prior to any person being appointed or allowed access to children.
Among the litany of additional shortcoming identified by inspectors were:
nInsufficient staff. Just one staff member was looking after 11 children aged two-and-a-half to four-and-a-half, on the inspection day;
nChildren were put down for naps to coincide with staff lunches;
nHot water in the children’s bathroom was at 65C, 22C above the recommended safe temperature;
nName and telephone numbers of five of the children’s GPs were not recorded on their registers; records of immunisation were missing from six and written parental consent for appropriate medical treatment in the event of emergency was not on any registers. This omission was previously highlighted in Jun 2010.
The creche was also criticised for using torn and worn nappy changing mats that were dirty on the underside and for failing to install a restrictive opening device on the window in the baby room where a nearby armchair offered the opportunity to climb out.
The outdoor play area had not been used since the previous autumn. The use of a “thinking chair” as a tool to manage challenging behaviour was criticised on the grounds that “children should never be excluded, ignored, neglected or isolated, emphasis should be on promoting good behaviour”, inspectors said
In a written response to the HSE last April, the proprietor, Hazel Curran, outlined a series of changes made since the inspection including, inter alia, that the “thinking chair” was no longer in use, changing mats had been replaced, a restrictive device placed on the baby room window and toys replaced. References and vetting was also being addressed, she said.
A second Galway creche, Ballinasloe Community Childcare, Poolboy, was found in breach of nutritional guidelines. Food on inspection day consisted of fish fingers, oven chips, and beans and biscuits for the 3pm snack. The creche said in response it has revised its menu. Ballinasloe was also faulted for the temperature in the baby sleep room.
The creche said windows are now opened if the temperature rises.
A third Galway creche, Beoga Preschool in Castlegar, was told to ensure- looped blind cords hanging on all windows are fixed.
An examination of 33 creche reports pertaining to Co Clare found a high compliance rate.
Of 33 inspected, 18 were fully compliant with regulations. This compares to just one creche out of 22 in Co Mayo.
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