Busy Bees campaigns to make blinds safe

Busy Bees, the UK's largest childcare provider, is using its experience to raise awareness among the sector of the danger of some roller blinds to children, following an incident at one of their settings.

The nursery group was alerted to the possible risk of roller blinds after an incident took place at one of their newly acquired settings when a child was left with a minor injury to their neck from the cord of a blind.

Busy Bees informed Ofsted about the incident and an internal investigation was carried out, which revealed that the cord was not in its usual place, outside the window, to prevent children from reaching it.

Ofsted was satisfied with the action taken by Busy Bees to ensure children’s safety and took no further action.

Following the incident, Busy Bees was informed by their supplier that other nurseries have reported these risks with similar window furnishings.

The nursery group is now hoping to share their experience with other nurseries and raise awareness and increase their knowledge about the possible dangers of roller blinds.

Marg Randles, managing director of Busy Bees, said, ‘As a company that is committed to providing a quality service and the well-being of children in our care, we take every opportunity to learn from lessons.

‘Busy Bees policies are now fully embedded in the newly acquired nursery in question, including our robust health and safety procedures and monitoring processes, and with increase training and mentoring of staff, we are confident a similar incidence could not happen again.

She added, ‘Now that this (incident) has been shared with our parents, as professionals we feel it is our duty to raise awareness and to alert other providers to the dangers. There may be a risk assessment in place and procedures to reduce the risk but these are never failsafe.’

According to Busy Bees, the current European Standards only require window blinds to be provided with a minimum of a separate hook to tie loose cords and a safety warning.

The nursery group say that this standard is now being strengthened so new blinds come with built-in devices that firmly secure blind cords or enable them to break when pressure is applied.

Ms Randles said, ‘Although the new regulations are very welcome it may be a number of years before settings are able to upgrade their blinds. We also have a responsibility to raise awareness with the families who use our settings as there may be hundreds of families who have blinds in the home.’

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