From 8 April 2021, the requirement for the ratio of first aid qualified adults to children is changing. The new requirement will be that for every 25 children (changed from 50 children) who are attending, an adult with a current first aid qualification must be present at all times.
1. For every 50 children at least one adult is present who holds at least a current first aid qualification gained from a trainer employed by a registered education organisation granted consent to assess first aid unit standards by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. Or the adult may be doctor or nurse with a current practising certificate or a qualified paramedic.
The Ministry of Education recognises any First Aid qualification from courses that:
- cover the outcomes of the core health unit standards 6401 Provide first aid and 6402 Provide resuscitation level 2, and
- meets the NZQA's requirements in First Aid as a Life Skill – Training Requirements for Quality Provision of Unit Standard-based First Aid Training.
It is recommend that staff also complete unit 6400, which will teach staff how to manage first aid in emergency situations.
Note that home-based educators must complete unit standard 25459 – Provide first aid for young children. Unit Standards 6401 and 6402 required for staff in ECE centres to be first aid qualified are also recommended for home-based educators but are not compulsory.
Unit standard 6400 teaches staff how to manage first aid in emergency situations and is therefore also a unit that all staff should complete, however it is not legally required that staff do this unit standard.
2. Copies are kept of current first aid or medical practising certificates (a refresher first aid course must be undertaken every two years to maintain the certificate as current).
3. The first aid qualified adult is the adult who must administer the first aid to an injured child or supervise the administering of first aid to an injured child.
4. All practicable steps are taken to get immediate medical assistance for a child who is seriously injured or becomes seriously ill and to notify a parent of what has happened.
5. The Ministry of Education must be notified of a serious injury or illness or incident involving a child while at the service that is required to be notified to a specified agency e.g. the New Zealand Police; the Ministry of Health; Child, Youth and Family; WorkSafe New Zealand; and the Teaching Council. Documentation required by the Ministry of Education is a copy of the notification sent to the specified agency.
6. A child’s medical practitioner or medical centre is consulted if practicable.
7. All injuries are recorded to include:
- Date, time, description of incident.
- Actions taken and by whom.
- Evidence that the parents have been notified/informed.
8. The centre must have a First Aid kit that is easily recognised and accessible only to adults and contains:
- Disposable gloves.
- Means of cleansing wounds, e.g. sterile saline solution.
- Means of holding dressing in place e.g. safety pins, bandage clips, tape.
- Sterile wound dressings including plasters.
- Stretchable bandage rolls.
- Means of immobilising an upper limb injury, e.g. triangular bandage.
- Cold pack.
- First aid manual.
- National Poisons centre phone number 0800 Poison or 0800764766.
- Healthline phone number 0800611116.
- Category (1) medicines as selected by the centre (These require appropriate written authority from parents).
(Note that the number of items or size of the First Aid kit is not specified in the requirements).
Discussion: It is not a legal requirement that when a centre takes some children on an excursion and some children remain at the centre, the first aid qualification ratio must be met both on the excursion and at the centre. However, it is best practice to have a first aid qualified person with any group of children.
10. Staff induction and on-job training
Discussion: Every ECE service should cover appropriate first aid responses for the setting and for the children as part of its induction of new staff, including day relief staff. Services differ in the age and needs of children, physical layout, where the first aid kit is, phone numbers to call etc. Just as we prepare for an earthquake – so too we should prepare/practice for what to do if a child chokes, bangs their head, stops breathing, etc. We know that it can be a highly stressful situation for staff dealing with a serious injury, especially when a child's life is at stake (read this case study). Being prepared, knowing what to expect and how to react, can help for staff to remain calm and remember and use the correct first aid techniques.