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Checklist for a Safe Church Nursery

June 10, 2024 jill Blog
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Regardless of faith and denomination, the church is intended to serve as a place of worship and 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 churches with their own nurseries. 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 must take active measures to keep 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 stuffed animals—can present similar risks.

If parents only drop their children off during service, 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 cribs you provide for your church nursery should have firm mattresses.

Likewise, bedding and decorations should be minimal. 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; nursery workers should let them toddle, 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 adults can easily apply and remove them, but kids cannot. If they have a much harder time figuring them out, 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, church members 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 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 for screening 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 church or clergy members. 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, leaving a sign above the sinks with instructions for proper handwashing never hurts. Children, especially infants, are susceptible to falling ill because their immune systems are still developing. This simple hygienic act can prevent disease from spreading through the nursery, including the workers.

Childcare Technology

In today’s modern church nurseries, communication with parents is more crucial than ever. Visual-paging and vibrating paging systems are becoming increasingly popular for their effectiveness in ensuring parents can be reached quickly and discreetly. These technologies provide a direct line of communication from the nursery to parents, offering peace of mind and enhancing the overall safety of the nursery environment.

Visual-paging systems can display a parent’s unique code on a screen, alerting them to return to the nursery without disrupting the service. Similarly, vibrating pagers provide a silent but effective alert, allowing parents to be notified immediately if their child needs attention.

This information is courtesy of Microframe Corporation, which specializes in the design and manufacturing of LED Displays,