As a nursery owner or manager, your number one priority when taking care of babies and children is their safety, starting with the nursery being a safe and secure place itself.

To help you tick off important safety considerations, here are our practical tips and advice to creating a safe nursery environment.

Practical Advice for a Safe Nursery

1. Check all Sockets and Think About Their Wires

You should try to think how you plan to arrange the room around your sockets, as ideally, you don’t want to be using extension cables. If you have too many plug sockets, make sure to cover those that are unused with protectors that cover the entire outlet plate, as these types of protector are difficult for adults to remove. If you have any power leads exposed, make sure that they are not frayed or damaged and replace them if they are; if they are in good condition, keep them away from any sources of heat and tuck them behind furniture out of the reach of children.

Safety Tip: Invest in cord shorteners where possible.


2. Secure all Windows and Doors

When arranging furniture, make sure to keep items away from the windows as injuries could result from climbs and falls, as well as potential strangulation from any cords on blinds or curtains. Make sure to tie any cords high up and out of the reach of children, and install window guards and cordless window coverings where possible. When opening windows, always fix low windows to open no more than 12.5cm (5 inches) and open sash windows from the top.

When it comes to doors in the nursery, make sure to fit door slam stoppers (either on the latch side or the hinge side) to prevent mobile children from catching their fingers. In a home nursery, you may need to use gates. If so, buy ones that screw into the wall or doorjamb, rather than pressure-mounted gates.

Safety Tip: Fit low windows with locks to prevent children from opening them and catching their fingers.

A child

3. Aim for Minimalism

When decorating a nursery, it is easy to get carried away by the finishing touches. However, to ensure that you have the safest environment as possible, you need to be aiming for a minimalistic environment. Here are some of the most important thing stop consider:

Furniture – When choosing furniture, avoid pressed wood, particleboard and plywood, as they may contain formaldehyde which could lead to nose and throat irritation. When arranging the furniture, keep low-standing furniture away from the windows.

Storing Toys – At the end of each day, make sure all toys are put away to avoid trips. Make sure all toys are stored in bins or boxes without lids.

Choosing Decor – You need to consider everything that has a potential risk. For example, opt for carpets and rugs that are made of natural fibres as they emit less VOCs and paper-based or natural fibre wallpaper over vinyl. When choosing final touches, avoid heavy picture frames and mirrors that could fall on children, as well as decorations with long strings, ropes or cords.

4. Check if the Paint is Old and Redecorate if Necessary

Buildings that were built before the 1970s are most likely to be decorated with lead paint, which over time, can create dangerous dust when damaged. Therefore the age of the property and the condition of the paint needs to be the first thing that you check before doing anything else. If the paintwork is in good condition, it can be sealed with a coating of modern paint, while if it is in bad condition (e.g peeling), it will need to be removed by professional decorators.

Safety Tip: If you’re planning on re-decorating, always opt for a high-quality water-based paint which is lead-free and contains low or no VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Make sure that you paint in a well-ventilated room and air it out for 2-3 days to ensure there are no harmful vapours remaining. 


Quick Practical Tips for a Safe Nursery

Cribs: If your nursery contains cribs, they need to meet current government safety standards. The safest cribs have slats that are no more than 2-3/8 inches apart, have no drop sides, sharp corners or decorative knobs, and all screws, bolts and mattress supports are secure and in good condition. Within the crib, you need a tight-fitting mattress and a crib sheet. Any additional features such as pillows, loose blankets or toys are suffocation hazards so should be removed.

Chemicals: Keep all hazardous chemicals and supplies out of reach of children. Ideally, keep them in sealed drawers or shelves that pose no risk of ingestion or poisoning.

Safety Features: Make sure to use braces or anchors to secure all heavy and tall pieces of furniture from falling over, and secure safety latches on all low drawers to preventing climbing. Keep all finger-pinch guards high enough on doors that children can’t pop them out of place.

Temperature: Temperature and proper ventilation are essential in a nursery, so ensure that trickle vents are kept open, hang a wall thermometer up to regulate temperature and have fans at hand for the summer. Heat can exacerbate health problems such as asthma so ventilation is crucial.


Need More Help with Your Nursery or Health & Safety?

Child Care Health and Safety Wales provides many publications and resources on Health and Safety in a nursery setting, including policy log books and checklists that can be tailored to your business. If you need any advice or guidance on which ones you need, don’t hesitate to get in touch. | 07921 278986