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1.4.3 Transporting Children

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This procedure applies to all children.

RELATED CHAPTER

This chapter should be read in conjunction with the Activities for Children Procedure.


Contents

  1. General Arrangements
  2. Seat Belts and Restraints
  3. Transporting Children
  4. Helpful Guidance Regarding Transporting Children


1. General Arrangements

Staff and carers transporting children on behalf of the local authority must be aware that the behaviour of children regardless of age can be unpredictable, and transport of children needs to be carefully planned and risk assessed before it occurs (see Section 5, Risk Assessments, in the Activities Procedure).

Consideration must be given to the likelihood of predictable problems during any journey and the following must be taken into account:

  1. Passenger safety
  2. Competence of the driver.
  3. Awareness of driver's hours
  4. Traffic conditions
  5. Contingency funds and arrangements in case of breakdown/emergency
  6. Weather
  7. Journey time and distance
  8. Stopping off points for long journeys and toilet breaks - 15 minutes every 2 hours
  9. Appropriate car seats seat belts or restraints must be used and fastened (see Section 2, Seat Belts and Restraints, for Requirements)
  10. A working mobile telephone should be taken and carried by the person in charge and each member of staff likely to be on their own with the child. Workers are reminded that mobile phones must not be used whilst driving, in line with legal requirements;
  11. Before starting any journey, the owner of any vehicle must undertake sufficient checks to ensure that the vehicle is roadworthy:


2. Seat Belts and Restraints

See GOV.UK, Child Car Seats the Law.

Children cannot travel in contracted taxis without restraints.

Children aged under 8 (or dependent upon developmental age) must not travel unescorted in contracted taxis or with volunteer drivers without an escort.

Employees must only use car seats that have been purchased specifically by Children and Families' Services for the transportation of children.

Ideally if a LA child has a car seat that is appropriate to their size and weight this should be used by all members of staff involved in transporting that child. It is when a particular seat is not available for an individual child that we then use the office store of seats in line with the age, size and understanding of the child.

The driver is responsible in law for making sure that children under 14 years use seat belts or child seat/boosters as required.

For children over 14 years it is the responsibility of the driver to make the child aware of the needs to wear a seat belt/restraint.

Where a child refuses to wear a seat belt, then under no circumstance must that child be transported. To discuss this situation with management to try and arrive at a safe resolution.

Child locks (Not central locking) to be used at all times when driving to provide added safety.

Maintenance of Car seats

Car seats should be stored in an organised and safe manner so that they do not sustain damage.

If a car seat is damaged or been in a car accident it should be retired/disused. Another car seat will need to be purchased and added to stock & removed from the data base. The SW or SWA should inform their manager of the issue who will ensure that the car seat is removed from use (if it can’t be removed from the office immediately a clear label to inform workers that it is not used as it is unsafe) and a new one purchased.

Workers when transporting children in car seats should ensure they are fit for purpose. If they are grubby, they should be cleaned (All contact centres have washing facilities if needed).

As stated above if they are unsafe or there is obvious damage they should be discarded and no longer used.

Area offices might want to introduce a twice-yearly audit to ensure they are fit and safe for purpose. Workers need to alert managers immediately if there are any issues with car seats.


3. Transporting Children

Staff will be involved in the transportation of children from and to various settings e.g. school, home visits, activities, court etc.

The business of transporting other people’s children should be prioritised and seen as the significant activity it is.

It is the responsibility of all managers to ensure that staff update changes to their insurance and driving licence and provide copies of the documents (this is covered in the Supervision Log).

Additional points should also be noted:

1. Where a Risk Assessment states that two staff should accompany a child, the child should never be left alone whilst on the activity. In this case both staff should sit with the child in the rear of the vehicle during the journey;
2. Under no circumstances must a child be allowed to gain access to vehicle keys. When not in use, vehicle keys must be kept in a safe place. Children may not use the main controls of vehicles, steer cars or use petrol pumps;
3. All vehicle occupants must wear suitable seat belts or restraints at all times when in vehicles (see Section 2, Seat Belts);
4. Children, staff/carers and other passengers may not smoke in vehicles during the working day.
(Health and Safety – Leeds City Council - advises that staff receiving essential business allowance, the vehicle is expected to be ready and available for work (which includes transporting children) in working hours. Therefore workers should not smoke in the car within working hours regardless of whether children are in the car or not. They should also be cautious when smoking whilst driving into work and have the windows open etcetera as smoke can linger and be present later in the working day);
5. Workers should ensure that child locks are engaged whilst transporting children;
6. Workers should ensure that the care is not cluttered with items that may cause injury if thrown by the child/children or in the event of an accident;
7. Workers should ensure that they have enough time to safely fit the seat and be confident in its usage before transporting a child/children;
8.

If as in unusual circumstances there is a known risk to the child or others, e.g. a child's history of violence, the likelihood that the child may go missing or refuse to go, the member of staff should consult his or her team manager for advice on how to proceed but, as a minimum, should ensure the following:

  1. The child must sit in the rear of the vehicle, and each child must be supervised by a minimum of one member of staff;
  2. Staff must be clear when it may be appropriate to use Physical Intervention and what techniques may be appropriate;
  3. Children must not sit behind the driver or be able to distract the driver;
  4. The member of staff must be satisfied that no items which could be used as weapons are available to the child. These could include tools, aerosols, pens etc.
  5. If it is suspected that the child may have some weapon concealed on their person, this must be discussed with the team manager immediately and before the journey commences;
  6. A plan should be in place for arrival at the destination:
    • Will more staff be needed?
    • Is a room available?
    • Is it easy to get the car close to the destination; and
    • Is it possible to avoid other children becoming involved?
  7. If the potential risks cannot be managed safely, the journey must not go ahead or continue. If necessary, the Police must be called to assist.
6. If a child becomes distressed to the extent that the safety of the vehicle or occupants may be compromised, the vehicle must be stopped in a safe and legal manner. The appropriate emergency support service should be summoned if required;
7. If the safety of the occupants is compromised, with the risk of injury or damage to property, Physical Intervention may be used. If the situation cannot be managed the Police should be called to assist.

What to do if you have a low impact bump whilst transporting a child:

  • Notify SW, Parent & carer & complete CF50;
  • If case is in care proceedings to share CF50 with legal representative;
  • Ensure child is taken to a medical professional to be checked over;
  • Car seat to be taken out of use and appropriately discarded. In line with DOE advice that car seats that have been involved in a RTA should no longer be used.


4. Helpful Guidance Regarding Transporting Children

Appendix 51 Leeds City Council - Policy on the use of communication equipment whilst driving

Child Car Seats, Carrying Other People’s Children Safely in Cars

Child Car Seats, Child Car Seat Films

GOV.UK, Child car seats: the law

Child Car Seats, Child Car Seat Training Course

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