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Monday 22 September 2014

'Poor hygiene and staff vetting' at city creches

Published 15/08/2014 | 11:17

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Dublin creches have been employing staff with no garda vetting, official inspections of pre-school childcare facilities has found.

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The Herald can reveal that despite the catalogue of horrors uncovered in last year's RTE Breach of Trust programme, many childcare facilities are still failing to meet proper standards.

Other worrying findings include nappy-changing areas without washbasins, taps with scalding water, and one creche with no heat.

Tusla, the child and family agency which has taken over responsibility for inspections since the beginning of this year, is publishing inspection reports on its website.

In Dublin alone, seven new inspection reports have found that standards are still not being met.

The breaches of health and safety include a creche which had run out of central heating oil and in addition had no hot water for hand-washing and no hand basin in the nappy-changing area.

In another, baby cots were directly under a mounted wall heater. Children using the toilet unaccompanied on a second floor had "ready access" to the staircase.

Meanwhile, at the same creche parents continually left the front door of the premises open during the inspection.

There was mould on the ceiling in one of the rooms and soiled nappies were stored in open bins without a lid.

In the same creche there was no garda vetting for seven members of staff, no separate sleeping room for children under the age of two and no way of reducing the light in the 
sleeping area. There were not enough toys or play materials and the 
fabric on the trampoline was "dirty".

In another creche the fence around the outside play area was only 1.15m high, leaving it open to "unauthorised access" and the possibility that the children could climb out.

The nappy-changing area had no ventilation in yet another childcare facility.

The air temperatures were "below acceptable limits" but by contrast the water temperature in the childrens' toilet area "exceeded safe limits".

Two of the staff from outside the jurisdiction had no police vetting.

The creche that had run out of central heating oil had 18 children with only two staff and no designated person in charge on the premises.

Five of the staff had no available references and three had no garda vetting.

The variety of toys and play equipment was limited with "no toys to support gross motor development" or imaginative play.

The first-aid box was not properly equipped, safety covers were missing from electrical sockets in several rooms with loose wiring the hallway and two other rooms.

The inspector at another creche found no vetting for seven staff members from outside the jurisdiction and no designated person for the reporting of child abuse.

There were 16 children in one room with only one toilet and one wash basin and no separate washing facilities for staff changing nappies.

A staff hand-basin in another changing area was not available as it was being used to clean painting equipment.

One and two year olds were sleeping on mats instead of cots and a safety latch was broken a cupboard which contained sharp scissors.

csheehy@herald.ie

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