Small scrapes, falls and tumbles are a natural part of growing up. Administering first aid, logging the injury in an accident book (or digital childcare record) and informing parents is just about all that’s required of childcare providers when it comes to dealing with minor accidents and injuries.
But, in the unfortunate event that the injury is a serious one, it is a statutory requirement for Early Years providers in England to notify the Ofsted authorities as soon as reasonably possible – and in any case not later than 14 days of becoming aware of the incident.
What are the circumstances when you should report an injury to Ofsted?
As detailed in the Early Years Compliance Handbook, childcare providers must notify Ofsted if a child in their care suffers a ‘serious injury’. Ofsted officially describes the following as serious injuries:
- Fracture/ Broken Bones
- Loss of consciousness
- Pain that’s not relieved by simple painkillers
- Acute confused state
- Breathing difficulties or persistent, severe chest pain
- Major dislocation of the shoulder, hip, knee, elbow or spine
- Temporary or permanent loss of sight
- Eye injury from chemical or hot metal burns
- Injury from electric shock, electrical burn or hypothermia resulting in unconsciousness, or requiring resuscitation or hospitalisation for more than 24 hours
- Unconsciousness due to asphyxia or exposure to harmful substances, toxins, infected material or biological agents
- Unconsciousness or medical treatment received as a result of inhaling, ingesting or absorbing harmful substances through the skin
Reporting Accidents to Ofsted
You can report the accident by calling 0300 123 1231 or report online using the designated ‘Notification of Early Years Provision Incident’ form on the Ofsted website.
When does Ofsted not expect you to report an injury?
As explained by Dee Coleman, Principal Early Years Officer, Ofsted does not expect to be informed of minor injuries such as sprains or fall, and considers small bumps and scrapes a natural part of growing up.
Ofsted defines the following as minor injuries:
- Bruising, sprains or strains
- Small cuts and grazes
- Wound infections
- Minor burns or scalds
- Minor head or eye injuries
- Insect and animal bites (if the child is not hospitalised for more than 24 hours)
- Minor back, shoulder or chest injuries
If the injury is minor and you’ve still had to take the child to your local accident and emergency department for examination, do not worry about alerting the authorities – unless it leads to the child being hospitalised for more than 24 hours.
Allowing the children to take small risks and explore their boundaries is an inevitable part of learning. Just make sure you have a qualified first aid provider onsite, use your professional judgement and make a regular assessment of the risks in your setting in line with EYFS requirements.
However, remember it’s mandatory to maintain up to date risk assessment reports and accident reports with relevant signatures (no matter how small the injury).
Make sure you always have the emergency contact details and signed permissions for emergency treatment of each child handy and carry them with you when taking the children out of your childcare premises – as these will be scrutinised in the unfortunate event of a serious accident.
How do you document incident and accident reports and carry emergency contacts at your setting? Did you know, you can now do it all digitally from your phone or tablet and keep them all in one place and easily accessible wherever you go. Find out how Cheqdin can help.