Health, safety and hygiene
Children develop incredibly quickly, they’re curious and want to discover and explore the world around them. They unfortunately rarely see danger in anything they do. The older children become, the more effectively they’ll learn what is and isn’t allowed and what is and isn’t dangerous. A safe environment is therefore of the utmost importance. We provide as much outdoor play time as possible every day. Children are given the opportunity to explore their own possibilities outside, they’ll be able to push their own limits and to learn to assess risks for themselves. Children literally need space to develop. This is of vital importance to their motor development and their self-confidence. That’s exactly how children learn to play safely. Children are allowed to get dirty outside and the occasional scrape or bump is obviously fine too. However, we naturally always carefully supervise them and will always provide a safe playing environment. We will always inform the parents if anything ever goes wrong whilst the children are playing. Hero children’s centres thereby strive to create an excellent balance between safety and sufficient challenges. We don’t cover all safety risks, but will certainly protect your children against risks which are too great.
We work in line with the guidelines drawn up by the RIVM and the National Centre for Hygiene and Safety for childcare, toddler care and out-of-school care. We have also implemented our own additional work instructions regarding, for example, safety, hygiene and food safety, nutrition and (out-of-school) outings.
Hero children’s centres carry out an annual risk assessment to fine-tune our safety policy. The fire service also comes in to inspect our facilities’ fire safety. Plus all outdoor play equipment is checked and repaired where necessary on a quarterly basis.
The GGD conducts annual checks on behalf of the Municipality of Haarlem to ensure we meet all the legal quality requirements. The GGD’s inspection reports are in the public domain and can be viewed per location. You can always find the most recent GGD report on this website’s location page.
Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Reporting Code
Hero children’s centres work with the Domestic Violence and Child Abuse reporting code, just like all other childcare organisations. The reporting code contains a step-by-step plan which supports professionals with identifying and taking action when they are concerned about children’s safety, both at the care facility and at home. The reporting code provides guidelines for consultation with colleagues and parents, and if necessary with other authorities too. Other authorities we work with include the Centre for Youth and Families, Youth Health Care Kennemerland and Safe Home Kennemerland. Hero children’s centres are also affiliated with the Verwijsindex (Referral Index), a digital system in which the name of the child concerned is linked to the name of the professional. This means it’s possible for any professionals involved with the same child to be in contact with each other. Parents are always consulted before contact is made with other authorities.
Hero children’s centres have a specifically appointed person whose task it is, among other things, to bring the reporting code and the list of signals to the attention of all employees each year, making sure everyone deals with concerns about any children’s safety both carefully and seriously.
Some parents are concerned about their children becoming infected and ask us, as a childcare organisation, whether we allow unvaccinated children. We admit children who do and do not participate with the national vaccination programme. Hero children’s centres support the advice provided by the National Institute of Public Health (RIVM) regarding the national vaccination programme to have children vaccinated. This is because we also think it’s important for your child not to get ill and that a vaccination rate of 95% is achieved.
What do we do to limit risks?
If we’re aware that certain childhood diseases are prevalent at a location, the cluster manager will always immediately ensure the hygiene rules are further tightened. We thereby follow the hygiene guidelines set by the RIVM. This will allow us to limit the spread of infection as much as possible. We will also inform parents of any prevalent childhood diseases and about any possible measures parents need to take.
Infected children can still attend their care facilities where most childhood diseases are concerned. However, if this is not the case, or if there are risks associated with the childhood disease in question (for example, with a disease like Rubella, which poses a risk to pregnant women), parents will be informed accordingly.
Frequently asked questions about the vaccination policy
Hero children’s centres endorse the advice issued by the RIVM. What does that mean?
The ministry has given the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, the RIVM, responsibility for organising the national vaccination programme. The RIVM will inform parents, care providers and practitioners about the purpose of the vaccinations. The RIVM has communicated the following: “We think it’s important for children to be given a healthy start in life in the Netherlands and vaccinations against contagious infectious diseases form part of this. That’s why vaccinations are provided free of charge. The ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sports is responsible for the national vaccination programme in the Netherlands. The minister will determine which vaccinations children are to be offered. The minister will reach that decision based on advice provided by the Health Council. The Netherlands doesn’t have any laws or regulations which enforce the vaccination of children against infectious diseases. This is done on a voluntary basis.” In order to achieve a high vaccination rate at the daycare centre and therefore offer safety, it’s in our interest that parents arrange for children who attend the care facility to be vaccinated. We therefore recommend that parents have their children vaccinated for the safety of their own child and other children.
Which measures have Hero children’s centres introduced to inform parents about the vaccination programme and to encourage the vaccination of children?
If parents have any questions, we will provide them with answers about our working method regarding vaccinations and subsequently refer parents to the RIVM, the health clinic or the GP. We will always tell them about the importance of having their children vaccinated when they attend the care facility.
Will my child be in any kind of danger at the care facility?
Most children in Haarlem have been vaccinated. These children are therefore well protected. However, we can’t exclude the spread of an infectious disease.
Why don’t Hero children’s centres ask whether a child has been vaccinated?
Having a child vaccinated is not compulsory in the Netherlands.
Why don’t you simply refuse to take in unvaccinated children?
The regulations regarding this aren’t sufficiently clear to know what is and isn’t allowed and when there would be a case of discrimination or violation of the privacy law. It would be possible under private law, providing it doesn’t conflict with other legislation. Even though the care facility can reach its own decisions as to who it does or doesn’t take on as a new customer, consumers have the right to equal treatment and protection of their personal data. There is currently no unambiguous registration on the basis of which we can check actual vaccination records.
What information about vaccinations can you actually trust?
The RIVM has developed a special page which shows how to identify reliable information about vaccinations. This page also discusses the most common reasons to vaccinate or not. Would you like to find out more? Then visit the following website: https://rijksvaccinatieprogramma.nl/vaccinaties/twijfels. You also have the option of contacting a healthcare centre, the GGD, the GP or a paediatrician should you have any further questions. Would you like to be kept informed of the developments, or would you like to find out more about childhood diseases? Then visit https://www.rivm.nl/vaccinaties.