Regardless of faith and denomination, the church is intended to serve not simply as a place of worship, but also as a sanctuary. Anyone should be able to walk through the doors and feel assured that they are in a safe place. This may be even more applicable to any churches that also have their own nursery. Infants and toddlers are already so vulnerable, and nursery services allow them to receive care while their parents or guardians fulfill other duties.
Of course, a nursery is not devoid of danger just by virtue of being in a church. The people in charge of the service and the establishment as a whole cannot afford to be passive on this matter. Instead, they need to take active measures in keeping their little wards safe. This checklist of must-haves can help you build a safe church nursery.
Cribs with Firm Mattresses
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is still a very real threat. Parents, guardians, and nursery staff must do whatever they can to mitigate the risk. Much of the effort involves addressing the unique needs of infants when it comes to where they can sleep.
To be more specific, many adults find soft mattresses to be more comfortable. On such surfaces, a small child is more likely to sink and be unable to move, or turn over and block a breathing passage. Additional bedding, like comforters, thick bedsheets, multiple pillows, and even stuffed animals can present similar risks.
If parents usually only drop their children off during service, then this may not be much of a problem. With that said, you may still need cribs in case the littlest ones want to rest. To make sure that their sleep is peaceful, the ones you provide for your church nursery should have firm mattresses.
Likewise, bedding and decorations should be kept to a minimum. Infants can certainly enjoy their favorite toys in the crib, but those toys should be put away during naptime.
Covers for Electrical Outlets
When small children start developing their mobility, they may not be content to stay in the crib as often as before. This is natural, and nursery workers should let them toddle or crawl or otherwise move around. That way, they can explore, play, have new experiences, and grow.
This is not to say that they should be free to do so without your implementing any safety measures. These children are still under your care. Before opening the nursery, you should comb the room for anything potentially dangerous to the church’s younger, smaller, more fragile guests.
Among the more notable dangers to children in just about any room these days is the electrical outlet. Kids may want to plug the socket holes with toys and other objects that may just be conductive. While you should always watch out for what they are holding and playing with, you can save yourself plenty of hassle by child-proofing the outlets.
Plug protectors are designed so that adults can easily apply and remove them, but kids cannot. If they have a much harder time figuring them out, then they are less likely to be able to yank them out. They are more likely to dismiss the socket as boring and explore elsewhere.
Substantial Nursery Worker Screening
Safety measures like the ones mentioned above and many others are excellent ways to keep kids safe. However, members of the church should not simply put their faith in God and those safety measures. Adult supervision can handle problems that firm mattresses, plug protectors, and other material goods cannot.
The question, then, is how to decide which adults should watch over the children and how. No one wants to think of their fellow congregants as bad or untrustworthy. Unfortunately, not just anyone should be counted on to take care of other people’s children.
Your church should be responsible and conduct screening for applicants and volunteers. You should see if any of them are registered sex offenders. You should check if they have a history of abusing children. This must be done, even if they are members of the church or the clergy. We cannot forget that certain people who professed piousness and devotion have been caught violating the innocent.
Only by subjecting your would-be workers to rigorous screening can you guarantee a safe church nursery. It may be awkward and uncomfortable, but it must be done. If they truly care about children, they would understand.
Proper Childcare Training and Instructions
Your church may not be able to afford to hire people trained in childcare or find volunteers with professional experience. If this is the case, then you will have to make do with what you have. Even then, you may want to leave directions for certain sensitive and/or vital tasks, to make sure that your nursery workers get everything right.
An important example is anything to do with the restroom. Anyone without experience with changing diapers may not know all the steps or the right way to care for a baby through the process. A detailed placard in the restroom, or wherever the changing station is located, could guide beginners when those with actual experience are not around.
Similarly, if the church nursery offers feeding services, you should list rules and practices somewhere visible in the kitchen. Items on the list could explain proper serving amounts for baby food, common allergens, and anything else related to properly handling food. The same goes for proper bedding protocol, which can show the adults in the room what they can do to prevent SIDS.
Lastly, it never hurts to leave a sign above the sinks with instructions for proper hand-washing. Children, especially infants, are susceptible to falling ill because their immune systems are still developing. This simple hygienic act can prevent any disease from spreading through the nursery, including the workers.
New technology and systems can provide much-needed assistance with childcare at church. LambList’s childcare check-in systems, for example, assign randomized numbers shared to children when parents leave them at the nursery. Only the person with the matching number can pick up the child later, a measure that prevents strangers from leaving with other people’s kids. Another example is church nursery paging, which allows nursery workers to contact parents with optimal privacy and sensitivity.
Both of these useful types of childcare technology are available right here at Microframe. We offer many helpful tools for a few different fields, including revolutionary measures for creating a safe church nursery environment. Reach out to us through our online store and discover the difference our solutions can make.