I don't think I can follow the Safe Sleep guidelines, what should I do?
It is vitally important that all infants and babies sleep and rest in-line with the safe sleep guidelines. It is great you have been thinking about your environment and practices to identify this issue. Please contact your Practice Mentor to discuss.
What should I tell families about the new policy?
Families will receive a Family Alert with information about the roll out of the new policy, as well a copy of the sleep, rest and relaxation policy. If a parent wants more information, you can share some of the resources from the online sleep, rest and relaxation module with them.
Do the new policy requirements apply to my own children, within my service?
The new policy has been developed with the best interests of all children at heart and is based on safe sleep recommendations, from Red Nose - the national authority on safe sleep and rest for children - in particular infants and babies. We encourage all parents to understand the safe sleep guidelines and implement these in their home environment. At any time your service is operational (i.e. You have children signed in to your Family Day Care business); your own child is considered to be a part of the early childhood service that you are delivering, therefore all of the new policy requirements will need to be followed for your own children, as well as all other children in your care. This includes the timing of sleep checks, sleeping environment arrangements and record keeping of sleep and rest.
I cannot afford to replace my port-a-cots with permanent cots.
It is not our intention to make Educators immediately purchase new cots. As you would have read in the online training module, we want to work with you to create an action plan within our grandfathering arrangements, to get the best outcome for each of our Educators and the children they care for. Your action plan will outline the ultimate outcome and what arrangements you are putting in place to keep infants, babies and children safe, in the interim. Your Practice Mentor will work with you to make sure the plan suits you and keeps children safe. One thing to consider is that you may never need four permanent cots. How many babies do you currently care for? Do they all come on the same days? Do you have any children who will be transitioning to a stretcher shortly? Most Educators do not need four cots, they may only need one or two and our grandfathering arrangements will give you time to plan these purchases. Remember, as a business owner, new cots are a business expense and can be claimed at tax time!
Can I sleep a 14 month old child on a stretcher? Or what age can children be moved to a stretcher/mattress?
There is no set age for a when a toddler should move from a cot to a bed. An indicator of a child ready to make the move to a bed is a child who continuously tries to climb out of a cot, and looks like they may succeed. This is usually around2 ½ to 3 years old, but may be from as early as 18 months old. As an Educator, it is important to closely monitor children during rest to notice such attempts. Before considering making this change, ensure you engage the child’s parents and work with them on prospective strategies to put in place. Alternatively, if a parent approaches you to discusses starting the transition at home, where possible, this should be mirrored at the service to support the family. However, this again needs to be done in consultation, particularly if you have reservations around the child’s ability to make the change due to physical or developmental barriers. Red Nose has a brochure on ‘Cot to bed safety’ containing information about this transition.
I do not have room in my home to set up permanent cots, I currently use port-a-cots each day in my living space, does that mean I can no longer have children under 2 years of age?
Ultimately, the safety and wellbeing of infants, babies and children in your care is the priority but we understand that it can be hard to manage the delicate balance between home life and your Family Day Care business. As part of the sleep, rest and relaxation training package, you will be asked to complete a critical reflection and action plan, in consultation with your Practice Mentor, which will look at some of these challenges. We have also developed decision trees and tools to help you work through various options for you, as we know the answer to this question is not a 'one size fits all' response. One possible solution might be to extend your approved care area to accommodate a permanent cot. We want all of our Educators to be supported to gradually make changes to their practice and environment that will not impact on their ability to offer and provide care, which is why we have factored in grandfathering arrangements to our action plans. Please read the grandfathering arrangements, above, for more information.
I read about grandfathering arrangements in the training. What are they?
Grandfathering arrangements are a provision where an old rule continues to apply in some existing situations while anew rule will apply to all future situations. In this instance, all Educators who register with Enhance FDC in the future will need to comply with our new sleep, rest and relaxation policy from their first day. Whereas, we will be working with our current Educators to gradually move from our current policy to our new policy around certain requirements - such as port-a-cots. As part of our sleep, rest and relaxation policy training package, Educators will need to complete our online training module, quiz and acknowledgement and then a critical reflection and action plan. Our grandfathering arrangements will give our current Educators up until the 31 December 2021 to meet the port-a-cot and overnight care requirements, and in some other cases (determined in consultation with your Practice Mentor and Children's Services Manager) some other aspects of the policy.
I have a family who insists on unsafe sleeping practices for their child. What should I do?
Unsafe sleeping and rest practices can lead to injury or death for an infant, baby or child in your care. We understand that there are many factors that influence parent requests around sleep and rest - culture, family routine and structure -and in some cases, the desperation of getting a baby who does not seem to ever sleep, to sleep! Some of the common unsafe sleeping practices that families may ask for are:
- Having their infant or baby sleep while you hold them
- Sleeping a baby in a bassinet, bouncer or pram
- Swaddling a baby when they can roll over
- Putting an infant's and/or baby's favourite blanket in the cot with them
- Placing a cuddle toy in the cot
In a genuine partnership, we want Educators to work with parents to provide continuity in sleep practices. However, it must also be acknowledged that some practices may not be able to be accommodated as they are not in line with our policy or safe sleep guidelines. It can be hard to have difficult conversations with families when requests for their child are not in line with policies, regulations, or best practice. It is imperative that you do not agree to or continue to use unsafe sleep practices for any child in your care. We have created an Exceptional Circumstances Flow Chart which will guide you through the steps that you should take if a family request an unsafe sleep practice. If you need more support, you always have access to your Practice Mentor, Assistant Manager or Children’s Services Manager. Please do not hesitate to reach out to them.