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Can Childcare Settings Refuse To Change Your Child's Nappy?

This is a hot topic amongst the parents in our community… Can a childcare setting refuse to change nappies?

We’ll start by pointing out, for anyone who thinks a child shouldn’t be in preschool if they’re not fully toilet trained, kids become dry at their own pace and learn to wipe themselves at their own pace. It isn’t realistic for many parents to stay at home until their child is fully trained!

Some of our mummies have told us that their preschool or nursery (usually those connected to a school) have been refusing to take on children who aren’t yet fully toilet trained, or refusing to change their nappies and calling parents in to change them. If you’re a working parent, you’ll see the issue here. There are only so many unexpected call-outs from work that an employer will reasonably tolerate before facing issues at work!

There doesn’t seem to be a clear answer to this question, but Local Authorities are making their stance clear.

Local Authorities are actually warning settings that they risk contravening the Disability Discrimination Act by refusing to change a soiled nappy, regardless of if a child is formally diagnosed with a disability at the time. This is because many medical conditions that may cause toilet training delay (Autism, Global Developmental Delay etc) aren’t diagnosed by preschool age, so a setting can’t know for sure if a child would be covered by the act therefore could potentially be contravening this act by refusing to change a nappy.

There are concerns from staff about potential accusations of abuse, which of course is understandable, but settings are able to write up a waiver that parents can sign to give staff permission to change nappies and wipe them. Another concern is staffing levels; some settings struggle to provide the staff to be able to change nappies or help with toilet trips, which many parents think undermines their attempts at toilet training as lack of support leading to accidents can actually cause regressions.

Most children are potty/toilet trained before the ages of two and three, but if a child isn’t ready, it isn’t realistic for most to quit your job and stay at home with them until they are, unfortunately.

Our advice to any parent in this quandary would be to sit with the setting manager and discuss your concerns, they should be willing to work with you to come up with a solution, but your Local Authority should be on your side especially if your child has additional needs. Contact them if you struggle to make any ground with your child care setting.

Love from Katie & Team BBY! Xx

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