A Guide to Facilities and Equipment Requirements - PLAY SPACES by hjkuiw354


									 A Guide to Child Care
     Centre Licensing
                                     Facilities and Equipment

Topic                                                              Page
Background                                                         2
Indoor Play Space                                                  2
Outdoor Play Space                                                 3
General Information                                                3
Exemption from play space requirements                             4
Separate outdoor play space for children of different age groups   4
Administration Area                                                4
Kitchen Facilities                                                 4

Laundering facilities                                              5
Change Facilities for children under 3 years                       5
Bathing Facilities for children under 3 years                      5
Hand Drying Facilities                                             6
Sleeping Arrangements                                              6
Beds for children under 2 years                                    6
Cot Standards/Safety                                               6
Beds for children 2 years and under 6 years                        7
Bed linen and Blankets                                             8

Type and Quantity of Bedding Required                              8
Arrangement of Bedding                                             8
Storage                                                            9
Display of Equipment                                               9
The ideal Cot-what to look for                                     10

        A Guide to Child Care
            Centre Licensing
                                                    Facilities and Equipment

The physical environment affects the safety, behaviour and development of both children and
adults. The physical space affects the level of child involvement in the centre and the type and
quality of interaction between staff and children. The amount, arrangement and use of space, both
indoors and outdoors, is important to the quality of experiences for children.
Adequate open play space fosters the optimal growth and development of children.
The essential play space requirement supports the environment for children in being free from
overcrowding and reduces the likelihood of accidents and health risks associated with cramped
confined spaces.

Indoor Play Space
When calculating the capacity of a child care centre (displayed on the licence), there must be a
minimum of 3.25m2 of useable indoor play space provided per child.

Indoor play space is the area within the centre accessible and appropriate for children to use as
play space, including areas for eating and sleeping.

Areas such as passageways, kitchens, toilets, showers, storage, administration and other ancillary
areas are not counted as play space.

Space occupied by fixed furniture, cupboards, lockers or cooling equipment is not calculated as
indoor play space.

Small mobile display cupboards, home corner furniture, chairs and tables etc are not generally
considered to reduce the available indoor play space.

Indoor play space should have appropriate surfaces that may include carpets, floor rugs or mats,
floor vinyl or tiles etc. Centres usually provide wet and dry floor areas for a range of activities. Floor
surfaces should allow easy cleaning and sanitation.

Floor coverings must be kept clean and safe, for example, rugs should be non-slip with no raised
edges that could cause a child or adult to trip.

Outdoor play space (Children’s Learning Gardens)
Outdoor play space is the outside area of the centre that IS accessible and appropriate fenced for
children to use as play areas and outdoor learning gardens.

Areas such as permanent storage areas, sheds or other outdoor buildings and any area of less
than three metres in width surrounding a building, or any other land that is not useable, such as car
parking areas, are not counted.

Gardens, landscaped areas, sandpits, fixed play equipment and other similar areas or equipment
that children can readily access for play do not reduce the amount of useable play space.
       A Guide to Child Care
           Centre Licensing
                                                          Facilities and Equipment

Gradients equal to, or not as steep as, 1:4 are acceptable and can be counted as outdoor play
space. Where the gradient is steeper than 1:4 licensees must seek further advice from DECS
Licensing and Standards Unit.

Steeper gradients, such as some play mounds, may be acceptable providing the area is safe.

Outdoor areas will normally provide a variety of surfaces including hard and soft surfaces. Hard
surfaces such as concrete or paving must be maintained in a safe condition and kept free from
hazards likely to cause children to fall or trip.

Soft surfaces and impact absorbing materials may be natural or synthetic. Licensees must ensure
that soft fall and impact absorbing materials comply with Australian Standards AS/NZS 4422:1996-
Playground Surfacing – Specifications Requirements and Test Methods.

All outdoor playground equipment must comply with the relevant Australian Standards. These

AS 4685.1—2004   Playground equipment–General safety requirements and test methods
AS 4685.2—2004   Playground equipment–Particular safety requirements and test methods for swings
AS 4685.3—2004   Playground equipment–Particular safety requirements and test methods for slides
AS 4685.4—2004   Playground equipment–Particular safety requirements and test methods for runways
AS 4685.5—2004   Playground equipment–Particular safety requirements and test methods for carousels
AS 4685.6—2004   Playground equipment–Particular safety requirements and test methods for rocking equipment

For further information regarding playground equipment, design and safety, refer to the publication
Early Childhood Playgrounds – Planning an Outside Learning Environment by Prue Walsh.

Exemption from regulation 66(1)(Play Spaces)
Generally, 3.25 square metres (indoor) and 7.0 square metres (outdoor) per child is the required
balance of space for children. Sometimes this combination cannot be readily provided, so the
licensee of a centre may apply for approval for an outside play area of no less than 5.0 square
metres per child as long as the total space (indoor and outdoor) provided for children is not less
than 10.25 square metres per child.

To apply for the exemption in Regulation 66(2) licensees must provide full details of the available
indoor and outdoor play space. The application should include information on how the licensee will
ensure that the reduction in outdoor play space will not jeopardise the health and safety of children
at the centre. It must also explain how the centre will be able to provide a program to meet the
curriculum and developmental needs of all children using the centre.

       A Guide to Child Care
           Centre Licensing
                                                 Facilities and Equipment

Separate play space for children of different age groups

A separate play space is required for children under two years of age if the centre cares for both
children aged under two years and children aged two years and over. This ensures that younger
children have access to a play area free from hazards that can be created by more mobile children
and that older children can have extended play opportunities undisturbed by younger children. In
some circumstances this separate area does not have to be a room or a permanent area.

Administration Area

This area will not count as indoor play space for children, but is intended as space for
administrative work, private consultations with parents and for staff respite.

Kitchen Facilities
The Building Code of Australia requires that ‘an early childhood centre must be provided with one
kitchen with facilities for preparation of and cooking food for infants including a kitchen sink and
space for a refrigerator’.

A stove or microwave oven, a refrigerator and a hot water supply must be provided whether food is
prepared at the centre or brought to the centre. The refrigerator must be large enough for
children’s food and drink.

Food must be prepared and stored hygienically. Local Government Environmental Health Officers
can provide information about other specific requirements relation to child care centres, their
kitchens and food.

Laundering Facilities
Building Code of Australia requires centres to provide a laundry facility comprising a wash tub and
space in the same room to accommodate a washing machine, if caring for children under the age
of two years.
Where laundering is not done on the premises a suitable laundering procedure must be in place. If
disposable nappies are used, the procedure must provide for their hygienic storage and disposal. If
cloth nappies are used, soiled nappies and garments must be stored in suitable sealed containers
for collection by parents or a commercial laundering service.

Hygienic and stable nappy changing facilities, appropriate situated, ensure that the health, safety
and dignity of children and adults is maintained and managed.

        A Guide to Child Care
            Centre Licensing
                                                   Facilities and Equipment

For Infants under three years:
Change facilities
A change bench or mat is required for every 10 children under three years of age for which the
centre is licensed. If the centre is licensed for nine or fewer children under three years of age, the
changing bench or mat need not be fixed.

Where the centre is licensed for 10 or more children under the age of three years, at least one of
the changing benches must be fixed.

For example, if the centre is licensed for 15 children under the age of three years at least one fixed
changing bench and one other change bench or mat is required.

When deciding whether a particular fixed changing bench is a type that can be approved, the
Director will consider the design and specifications on the building plans. The height of the bench
should be a minimum of 900mm and the depth from the front edge of the top of the rear of the
bench should be a minimum of 900mm. If a hand basin is built into the bench, the temperature of
the hot water must not exceed 45 degrees Celsius. If the changing bench is equipped with steps,
they must be secure and stable and allow easy child access. Depending on the design of the
steps, a hand rail and/or safety gate may also be required.

Bathing Facilities
Regulation 71(b)
A bath is required if the centre is licensed for children under three years.

The recommended measurements for a sink type bath are:

     900mm x 900mm x 300mm (depth) – maximum
     670mm x 520mm x 195 mm (depth) - minimum

For occupational health, safety and welfare reasons, the bath should be built into a changing
bench so that the height of the bath from the floor is no less than 900mm. It is further
recommended that the bath is fitted with a hand held shower rose attachment. The hot water
delivered to the bath must not exceed 45 degrees celsius.

Hand Drying facilities
Regulation 71(c)
Hand drying facilities can be an electric hand drier, or interleaved paper towels. Cloth towels are
not appropriate for hand drying as they can be a source of cross infection.

Sleeping Arrangements
Regulation 72
Adequate numbers of beds are needed to ensure that children each have a bed, ensuring
undisturbed sleep. Individual bed linen and adequate hygiene practices are necessary to minimise
the risk of cross infection.

Beds for children under two years
       A Guide to Child Care
           Centre Licensing
                                                   Facilities and Equipment

For children under two years, there must be one cot or other age appropriate bed for each licensed
place. Licensees must have on the premises sufficient cots to cater for a minimum of two thirds the
number of licensed places for children in this age group. The remaining one third can consist of
other age appropriate beds.

Cots are the most usual beds for children under two years, however, bassinettes and age
appropriate hammocks can be suitable for children under the age of 12 months.

For safety reasons, children should sleep in cots or other approved beds rather than in prams or
pushers as these pose a greater risk to children. If a parent specifically request this then it must be
in writing and signed by the parent. The pram or pusher is not to be counted as part of the total bed

Should a licensee wish to provide another form of bed for children under two years of age, a
specific request must be made to DECS Licensing and Standards Unit describing the type of bed,
including a photograph or brochure detailing the specifications. In assessing the appropriateness of
an alternative bed, expert advice on the design and safety aspects may be sought.

All cots must comply with the relevant Australian Standards
AS 2130-1998
Cots for day nursery, hospital and institutional use (safety requirements)

AS/NZS 2172-2006
Cots for household use – safety requirements

AS 2195-1999
Folding cots (safety requirements)

The above standards, while current at the time of printing, are subject to change.

It is the responsibility of licensees to ensure that all cots and other forms of bed are maintained in a
safe and hygienic condition.

The licensee and staff need to ensure cots stay safe for children. For example, they should be kept
well clear of windows, blinds and cords. Mobiles should not be within a child’s reach. Too many
toys or loose cushions inside the cot should be avoided as a child could pile them up on one side
and climb over the top. Any cot, new or old, should be inspected periodically for wear and tear.
Checks should be made for broken, loose or missing parts and all screws and bolts should be

Refer to The Ideal Cot at the end of the section. Licensees may also wish to seek additional advice

72 King William Road

       A Guide to Child Care
           Centre Licensing
                                                  Facilities and Equipment

Telephone:     8161 6318
Fax:           8161 6162
Email:         info@kidsafesa.com.au
Internet:      www.kidsafesa.com.au

For children 2 years of age and over but under 6 years
Regulation 72(ii)
There must be one bed or mattress for every two licensed places for children over the age of two
years but under the age of six years.

The types of beds automatically deemed as appropriate include:

     a foam or sprung mattress of appropriate dimensions. Appropriate dimensions will vary from
      child to child depending on the age, size and weight of the child. The mattress must be of
      sufficient length to comfortably accommodate a child lying down. The width of the mattress
      must allow for the movement from a side sleeping position to the reverse side sleeping
      position. The mattress is to be covered in fabric or water repellent material and may rest on a
      base or directly on the floor;
     stretchers with a fabric or synthetic canvas base of appropriate dimensions are also suitable.
      Stretchers are usually constructed from heavy duty vinyl or canvas. The vinyl variety is
      recommended in preference to the canvas type as they are easier to clean and therefore
      more hygienic. Should a canvas stretcher become soiled, the canvas must be removed
      immediately and laundered. Lose threads, particularly in the canvas variety, must be
      removed and the canvas repaired or replaced if necessary. The stretcher base must be in
      good order. Stretchers with wooden frames often require periodical maintenance.

Gym mats are considered unsuitable for sleeping.

Bed linen and blankets
Regulation 72(b)(c)
Children must have clean hygienic bed linen and blankets. Children must not share linen or
bedding with other children or adults between washes. This minimises cross infection.

There must be a minimum of one set of sheets and one blanket for each bed provided. Licensees
must consider the turnover of children in a centre on a given day or from one day to the next and
ensure that children are able to sleep when they like and not share bed linen. Used bed linen must
be stored away from other bed linen or other materials to stop possible cross infection.

Various practices by centres ensure the standard is maintained. A common example would be at
the start of the week each child is allocated a clean set of linen labelled with their name and stored
with their belongings when not in use. The linen is used by this child only. Unless soiled sooner,
the linen is washed at the end of the week.

       A Guide to Child Care
           Centre Licensing
                                                  Facilities and Equipment

Type and quantity of bedding required
Regulation 72(d)(i)
If pillows are used, a washable removable pillowcase must be provided.

A sheet to cover the mattress or stretcher. This sheet is in addition to the material or plastic cover
for a mattress or stretcher.

A top sheet and/or light cotton, wool or other suitable type of material blanket large enough to
comfortably cover a child in a sleeping position.

In cool conditions, a heavier blanket or some other form of appropriate bed covering may be
required. Blankets should be available either as a general comfort for children and for cases where
fluctuating temperatures may make them necessary for general warmth.

Arrangement of bedding
Regulation 72(d)(ii)
The regulations require ease of access and exit between occupied beds. This protects the health
and safety of children by ensuring the staff can readily attend to any child without interfering with
the comfort or sleep of other children. It is also important if an emergency arises and children have
to be evacuated quickly.

As a minimum there should be an unobstructed gap, end to end and side to side, of at least 70 cm
between occupied beds.

Safe Sleeping for the Under 2s is an information pamphlet for parents and caregivers produced by,
and available from, the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Further information on safe sleep and
cot safety is available from sids and kids telephone 8363 1963.

Buyers Guide to Cot Safety is an information pamphlet for parents and caregivers produced by and
available from, the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. How Safe are Children’s Cots is an article
from Choice magazine, October 1996. Choice is generally available from local libraries and
newsagents. Choice is also available through the internet at http://magshop.com.au.

Regulation 73
Secure and inaccessible storage facilities are required for various classes of materials and
equipment. The level of security required will vary according to the nature and potential risk of the
material or equipment. Highly hazardous substances, such as bleach, insect spray, other aerosol
cans, dishwashing machine detergent etc, must be kept in locked cupboards with the keys
removed, regardless of whether or not they are in rooms that children do not access.

Other materials of lower risk can be stored in cupboards fitted with child proof latches. If a licensee
or centre manager is unsure of the required level of security for a particular substance, material or
piece of equipment, further advice should be sought from DECS Licensing and Standards Unit, or

       A Guide to Child Care
           Centre Licensing
                                                   Facilities and Equipment

the item should be stored in a locked cupboard. As an extra precaution, dangerous substances or
materials used in the kitchen area must be stored securely or out of reach of children, although, in
any case, children must not have unsupervised access to kitchens.

Adequate storage facilities include storerooms, cupboards and shelving units.

Storage space for children’s personal belongings must be provided. The most common form of
storage is open box units. However, there are various acceptable storage facilities, such as plastic
trays or storage boxes, and wall hooks to hang personal bags. A shared facility is acceptable
provided each child has sufficient space for his/her needs and the facility is hygienic. At any time,
children aged three years or over should have access to their personal belongings.

Display of Equipment
Regulation 74
Display areas usually consist of either shelving units or book display cases.

Indoor play equipment includes such things as toys, books, art equipment, dress-up clothing and
other similar articles. The displayed equipment must be easily and safely accessible to children
being cared for at the centre. It is recommended that the maximum height of display cases,
cupboards or shelves be no more than one metre. However, young children may require
equipment displayed at a lesser height.

Not all play equipment needs to be displayed at the same time. Equipment may be stored in areas
not readily accessible to children, for example, in storerooms. However, licensees must ensure that
a sufficient quantity and range of equipment is on display and available to children at all times.

Licensees must ensure that all display cases, shelves and cupboards are strong, stable and safe.
Equipment should not be stored so that display cases, shelves or cupboards become unstable and
prone to easily toppling over. This may result in serious injury to children.

The Ideal Cot: What to look for
The following information, provided by the Australian Consumers’ Association, will assist licensees
in a regular audit of cots (reprinted from the October 1996 issue of Choice, with permission of the
Australian Consumers’ Association).

A well finished cot, made from quality materials:
     no large knots, insect damage, cracks or splinters (in one made of wood), no corrosion,
      dents or poor welds (in a metal cot);
     secure joints and brackets and an overall sturdy construction that will survive the rough
      treatment it’s likely to get;
     an enclosed depth of at least 600mm from the base (without a mattress) to the top of the side
      to stop a child climbing out easily;
     if it has an adjustable base, in the upper position (suitable for babies who can’t yet sit up) the
      enclosure is at least 400mm deep (without mattress);

     A Guide to Child Care
         Centre Licensing
                                               Facilities and Equipment

   no more than 25mm space between the mattress and cot sides, to prevent babies falling into
    gaps and suffocating;
   the gaps between bars are not less than 50mm and not more than 85mm to prevent babies
    getting their heads and limbs caught;
   if it has a dropside, it is secure, operates smoothly and quietly and can not be activated
    easily by a child;
   if it has wheels, there are only two, or, if it has four wheels, at last two have brakes;
   no sharp edges or points that could cause a cut or head injury;
   no knobs or protrusions that could catch a child’s clothing, posing a strangulation hazard, or
    that a child could roll against;
   no decorative transfers (as children may eat them and choke);
   no crossbars or decorative trim which could be used as a foothold for a child to climb out;
   no bumpers (padding tied to the cot) or anything inside the cot which has strings or ribbons,
    as children could choke on the ties;
   adequate, informative labelling – including a recommended snug fitting mattress size.

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