Mandatory risk assessments for transport of children
Children’s education and care services may sometimes provide transport, for example, to and from the service and a child’s home or other location.
Transporting children presents additional risks, including during transitions between a vehicle and a services premises or other location. These unique risks apply equally to single trips and regular transportation.
It is mandatory that services meet requirements for risk assessments and written authorisations and follow approved procedures to ensure the safety of children during transportation.
When a risk assessment must be completed
Under the Education and Care Services National Regulations (r102B), a transport risk assessment must be completed before an education and care service transports a child.
The risk assessment must identify and assess any risks to the health, safety or well-being of each child and specify how these risks will be managed (r102C).
A risk assessment will include:
- The route, duration and pickup/drop-off locations;
- Means of transport;
- Seatbelt requirements;
- Full names and of each adult involved in transportation, plus Working With Children Checks (WCC) and referee checks; qualifications of educations/responsible adults providing supervision of children, including Mandatory Notification Training (RRHANEC), First Aid (r136), Early Childhood Teacher (ECT) and any specialised skills that may be required;
- Number of children being transported;
- Water hazards along the route and stops;
- Process for embarking and disembarking the vehicle, including how each child is accounted for;
- Process for entering and exiting the service premises, pick-up location and/or destination, including how each child is accounted for
- Checklist of items such as: a list of children involved and contact information, first aid kit, list of adults involved and their contact information, any medication, health plans or risk assessments for individual children, a mobile phone or means of communication.
How often must risk be assessed for regular transportation?
When a service provides regular transport as part of a child being educated and cared for, a risk assessment must be completed when:
- The circumstances of transportation change.
Relevant circumstances include:
- duration of transportation
- staff or driver changes
- number of children
- Every 12 months where the circumstances are constant.
How long do transportation records need to be kept?
Records about transport, including written authorisations, risk assessments, checklists etc, are required to be kept for three years (r183(2)(d,g).
Resources for services: