Transporting children in family day care

This page is current as of 1 October 2017.

Family day care educators will often need to transport children as part of the education and care they provide for children. Transport provided by family day care educators may occur as part of a regular outing or may be provided as part of a ‘one off’ excursion.

A regular outing is an excursion undertaken on a recurring basis, for example when the family day care educator regularly takes children to and from an education and care service, shopping or on visits to the local park or library.

Children may be transported in a number of ways including in the family day care educator’s car, by public transport, or by walking to the destination. Children must be accompanied by a family day care educator or in some cases a family day care educator assistant may accompany the children.

The requirements of the Education and Care Services National Law Act 2011 (National Law) and the requirements of the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011 (National Regulations) must be met at all times that children are being educated and cared for by an education and care service, whether they are at the service or on an excursion. This includes ensuring that:

  • every reasonable precaution is taken to protect children from harm and from any hazard likely to cause injury (section 167)
  • all children are adequately supervised at all times that children are in the care of the service (section 165)
  • the relevant number of educators is no less than the number prescribed for this purpose (section 169).

Ratios and qualifications

When taking children outside of the family day care residence or venue, the maximum number of children that the family day care educator may educate and care for should not be exceeded (regulation 124).

All family day care educators must have, or be actively working towards, at least an approved certificate III level education and care qualification (regulation 127).

Each family day care educator and family day care educator assistant must hold a current approved first aid qualification, have undertaken current approved anaphylaxis management training, and current approved emergency asthma management training (regulation 136(3)).

Policies and procedures

To ensure that every reasonable precaution is taken to protect children from harm and any hazard likely to cause injury, family day care services must have policies and procedures in place as prescribed in regulation 168.

The policy and procedures relating to excursions (regulation 168(2)(g)) must include procedures for conducting a risk assessment before an excursion (regulations 100), the matters to be considered in conducting the risk assessment (regulation 101) and the authorisations required for the excursion (regulation 102).

Other policies and procedures that may also need to reflect the arrangements where excursions and regular outings are conducted include:

  • the delivery of children to, and collection of children from, the family day care residence or venue policy and procedures (regulation 168(2)(f))
  • the health and safety policies and procedures, particularly matters relating to water safety, including safety during any water-based activities and the administration of first aid (regulation 168(2)(a)).

Family day care services must ensure their policies and procedures in regard to excursions include strategies for monitoring and accounting for children on excursions including regular outings.

Risk assessment

A risk assessment for each excursion and for regular outings must be conducted. The risk assessment must identify and assess risks that the excursion may pose to the safety, health or wellbeing of any child being taken on the excursion and must specify how the identified risks will be managed and minimised. In addition, the risk assessment must consider all of the following:

  • the proposed route and destination for the excursion
  • any water hazards
  • any risks associated with water-based activities
  • the transport to and from the proposed destination for the excursion
  • the number of adults and children involved in the excursion
  • given the risks posed by the excursion, the number of educators or other responsible adults that is appropriate to provide supervision and whether any adults with specialised skills are required. (For example, specialised skills could include life-saving skills)
  • the proposed activities
  • the proposed duration of the excursion
  • the items that should be taken on the excursion (For example, a mobile phone and a list of emergency contact numbers for children on the excursion).

Authorisations

Written authorisations for each excursion and for regular outings must be provided for each child taken on an excursion or a regular outing (regulation 102). Where the child attends a regular outing, the authorisation must be provided at least once each year (regulation 102(5)).

The authorisation must state:

  • the child’s name
  • the reason the child is to be taken outside the premises
  • the date the child is to be taken on the excursion (not a requirement for a regular outing, see below)
  • a description of the proposed destination for the excursion
  • the method of transport to be used for the excursion (It is recommended that the type of child restraint to be used is included on all excursion authorisation forms where the method of transport is by motor vehicle)
  • the proposed activities to be undertaken by the child during the excursion
  • the period the child will be away from the premises
  • the anticipated number of children likely to be attending the excursion
  • the anticipated ratio of educators attending the excursion to the anticipated number of children attending the excursion
  • the anticipated number of staff members and any other adults who will accompany and supervise the children on the excursion
  • that a risk assessment has been prepared and is available at the service (regulation 102(4)).

Safety considerations when transporting children by car

Family day care educators and family day care educator assistants may need to consider other safety requirements when transporting children. They must only transport the number of children that can be safely transported in the car. VicRoads advises that everyone travelling in a motor vehicle must use a child restraint, booster seat or seat belt that is properly adjusted and fastened. Certain exceptions apply to buses. Further information is available at Seat belts & child restraints

Family day care educators must ensure that children are accompanied at all times by a family day care educator or family day care educator assistant when in a vehicle. When not in use, family day care educators and family day care educator assistants must ensure that vehicles are inaccessible to children.

Family day care educators and family day care educator assistants who transport children should hold a current Australian driver’s licence.

Child restraints

VicRoads outlines the legal requirements for using child restraints and booster seats. It also provides advice on what child restraints and booster seats are appropriate for children. More information about child restraints is available at: Child restraints

Risk assessments for excursions and regular outings that involve motor vehicle travel should include details of the child’s restraint needs which, for regular outings, may need to be assessed more frequently than every 12 months.

No matter how these arrangements are managed the family day care service has a common law duty of care to all children.

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