1.  The minimum requirements to provide for infants and pre-schoolers sleeping at sessional (part-time) and all-day (full-time) centres are shown in the table below: 

 

Children Under-2

Over-2s  

Sessional Centre (sessions of up to 4 hours)

Provides a dedicated space located and designed specifically for under-2s to have a restful sleep at any time

Provides a safe and comfortable place to nap or rest.

Provides furniture or items intended for children to sleep on, e.g. bed, cot, mattress, stretcher.

Provides a couch or bed, stretcher, etc.

Provides bed, cot or such at a minimum ratio of 1 to every 5 children

No minimum requirement to provide bed, stretcher, or such.

All-Day Centre (over 4 hours)

Provides a dedicated space located and designed specifically for children under-2 to have a restful sleep at any time.

Provides a space to sleep or rest for a reasonable period of time each day and provides alternative activity spaces for children not sleeping or resting.

Provides furniture or items intended for children to sleep on, e.g. bed, cot, mattress, stretcher.

Provides furniture or items intended for children to sleep on, e.g. bed, cot, mattress, stretcher.

Provides bed, cot or such at a minimum ratio of 1 to every 2 children

No minimum requirement for ratio of beds to children.

(Note that the number of beds to children is not specified in the requirements for older children attending an all-day centre though it is very common for 2 and 3 year-olds to become tired during the day and need a place to nap undisturbed by other children.  Note also that quietness or the provision of a quiet place to sleep is not included in the requirements though fluctuations in noise levels are not permitted in sleep spaces for under-2s). 

 

2. Furniture or items intended for sleeping on, e.g. cots, beds, stretchers, and mattresses:

  • Allow a child to lie flat.
  • Are designed to ensure safety and prevent suffocation hazard.
  • Allow a waking child to sit or stand safely.
  • Enable adults to have clear access to at least one side length ways.
  • Are set out to provide sufficient air flow around each child to prevent spreading illness.
  • Are disposable or made of (or securely covered by) non-porous material so liquid can’t pass through thus protecting from soiling and allowing for easy cleaning.

 

3. Individual bedding for sleeping or resting is:

  • Sufficient to keep a child warm.
  • Hygienically laundered with a documented procedure.

(Note that a centre may ask parents to provide bedding for their child, however unless it provides the bedding it may be difficult for the centre to be sure that it is meeting its legal obligations for the standards of (a) sufficient warmth and (b) hygienically laundered with a written procedure for laundering).

 

4. Furniture and bedding not permanently set up is hygienically stored when not in use.

 

5. A designated space for under-2s to sleep is designed to:

  • Allow fresh air to circulate with natural or mechanical ventilation.
  • Minimise fluctuations in temperature, noise and lighting levels.
  • Allow adequate supervision.

 

6. A documented sleep monitoring procedure:

  • Is displayed and implemented.
  • Ensures children have no access to food or liquids while in bed.
  • Ensures children are checked for warmth, breathing, and general wellbeing every 5 to 10 minutes or more frequently according to individual needs.
  • Records sleep times and the checks made by adults.

  

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