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Dog and childminder - what to ask/expect?

(81 Posts)
MummyOfSunbeam Fri 31-May-13 20:19:01

Hi all

I am not keen on dogs generally (more a cat person!), but as a result I don't know much about them and so assume they are probably fine. But a CM I am very interested in does have a jack Russell dog who I believe roams free and is a much loved part of the family.

I am nervous about my 9 mth baby dd with a dog though. Various sites feature childminders with dogs who all seem to say dogs should never be left unsupervised with babies etc, and that even if peaceful for years can always unpredictably snap - I was startled to read that from dog-owners themselves!

What should I be asking about how much access the dog will have to my baby? In sine ways my total dog ignorance might be making me too relaxed here. My utter priority is her safety. I am HARDLINE about that.

LynetteScavo Fri 31-May-13 20:23:54

Your baby should never be left alone with the dog.

Just like your baby should never be left alone in the garden with a paddling pool.

Even for a second.

Ask the childminder what their policy is, and also insist in never happens. "My utter priority is her safety. I am HARDLINE about that." I would say this.

MummyOfSunbeam Fri 31-May-13 20:30:47

Week thanks Lynette. I thought I would sound rather naive PFB saying that, but that is what I read elsewhere too.

Isn't it incredibly hard to keep a family dog apart from a minder though? I mean, doorbell and telephone - not to mention the 5 other children permitted by OFSTED. I mean - it ready baffled me how CMs manage even to look after more than one child and get to go to be toilet themselves! I struggle to do that with one! smile

MummyOfSunbeam Fri 31-May-13 20:32:24

'.... Keep a dog apart from a mindEE..'

ReetPetit Fri 31-May-13 21:04:38

i would never my baby with a cm with a dog but that's personal preference. some people are fine with it, just like some are fine with smokers, i wouldn't be.

i don't believe that anyone with a dog can ever 100% keep it away, there are too many distractions, unless the dog is permenatly shut out in garden/kept in cage which would lead to an annoyed, put out dog imo.

is this cm your only option? i suppose it depends how much you like her and your own feelings about dogs.

Personally, aside from the biting/mauling risk i don't like the dog poo/animal hair stuff either, but that may just be me wink

Karoleann Fri 31-May-13 21:09:31

I wouldn't ever leave a child with a dog - unless they have no teeth.

Different childminder maybe!

MummyOfSunbeam Fri 31-May-13 21:22:36

ReetPetit my thoughts exactly - I can't imagine it being enclosed the whole time. It's a family dog.

No other cm candidate viable - transport and commute constraints :/ nursery is an option (weep - just not comfortable w it)

mamamaisie Fri 31-May-13 21:23:12

I have two childminder friends who have dogs. One has a very laid back collie who roams free around the house (well mostly sleeps in the corner as it is very lazy!). It is often proded and poked by children and has had its lovely long fur pulled many a time but hardly seems to notice. The childminder leaves babies in the same room with the dog when she goes to the toilet. She is very honest with parents about the dog being part of the family.

The other friend has three large boisterous dogs and they are kept behind a safety gate in the kitchen at all times. They also have half the garden sectioned off with a fence. Children are only allowed to pet the dogs through the fence/safety gate with supervision.

So I guess there is a lot of variation in how childminders do things. I think if you visit the childminder and see the dog 'in action' at her setting you will probably have a gut feeling one way or the other. smile

ReetPetit Fri 31-May-13 21:52:29

no matter how much i liked someone, i wouldn't risk it.
what does she say about the dog? is it wondering freely around the house?

is she really your only option? have you been all through your local council's list? tried, mumsnet local etc?

MummyOfSunbeam Fri 31-May-13 22:12:46

Tried and the ofsted site and the council website. It's transport and my working hours that restrict us :/ it has to be v close or we can't get there in time.

3littlewomen Fri 31-May-13 23:13:36

I am a real dog lover - my kids have being raised with a maternal boxer dog believing she is the mother! I have never worried once, but would also (even after seeing her loving caring behaviour towards them) never leave her unsupervised with them.

A JRT is however not a breed I would be immediately comfortable with. They have a reputation of being snappy, nippy and terrier instinct is very strong! Perhaps this is an unjust brief of a breed - but I would have reservations with a dog I did not know very well!

ReetPetit Fri 31-May-13 23:17:23

i agree with 3littlewomen - and i think there's a difference also between kids who live with a dog full time and visiting kids. i would worry that the dog would see my child as an intruder, particularly a crawling baby who may well try and grab it's tail or something.

i think it boils down to how the op feels about dogs and how much she trusts the cm. i don't think you should leave your dd with her out of desperation though - i would be worrying all day if i felt i had had to chose her rather than wanted to.

PinkCanary Fri 31-May-13 23:25:56

My step mums jack Russell nipped my daughter when she was 1 year old (she's now 9) leaving a permanent scar on the side of her nose. My DD was sat on step mums knee at the time!!!! DD, not surprisingly, has been terrified of dogs ever since.
I've been a childminder myself since 2004 and, while I've known a few very good minders with dogs, I've never understood how they feel safe taking the risk.

Lala29 Sat 01-Jun-13 09:26:29

I love dogs and we have a Staffie, who is an old, now deaf, very placid dog. My 19 month old adores her and there is a lot of management involved to ensure she doesn't get into her bed when dog asleep, etc. I would have no issue with a childminder with a dog, but would want to see that the dog is calm, we'll trained and has a calm place away from the children it can go to (ie so the dog's bed is away somewhere where children can't get to). Also is dog fed when children are there? I'd want to know that dog can eat in peace as well as some can be possessive over their food bowl. I'd also want to know whether the dog toilets in the garden and what they do about it.

If worried about dog poo, I would just say we clean up an awful lot more cat/fox poo from our garden than dog poo and I've seen fox poo a few times in playgrounds. So just something to think about.

I think overall, it's great for children to grow up with animals and providing everyone is sensible, think it can only be a benefit. I think a cat can just as likely object to having its tail pulled and can scratch, bite, etc. plus they can jump on tables, work surfaces, etc. far more unhygienic in my opinion.

mamadoc Sun 02-Jun-13 00:59:13

My CM has a dog. DS has been with her since he was 9mo. We don't have any pets and I'm not a big fan of them.

I was a bit nervous about it but her dog is very well trained and I can see that she has risk assessed it and follows safe procedures.

Her dog has a crate with his bed in where he can go to get away from the children and a kennel in the garden plus she has a stair gate on the kitchen so can shut the dog away. She never leaves children unsupervised with the dog and I do trust her on that.

DS loves the dog (its name was one of his first words) and he has learnt how to behave around animals eg he always strokes quite nicely, doesn't pull tails and can throw a ball for the dog even though he's not quite 2. They get a lot of fresh air and exercise walking the dog too

I don't think it needs to be a deal breaker (smoking would be for me) but it is worth asking questions and getting reassurance and definitely not something to accept any compromises on.

Sarah1611 Mon 03-Jun-13 10:30:53

I couldn't leave a child in a home with a dog I'm afraid, as someone else mentioned its personal preference but I wouldn't risk it. You can never be 100% sure that a dog is safe- after so many dog/child incidents the owners are always 'so surprised', I don't think you ever can know.

Breeds make a big difference too- jack Russell's are ratting dogs, designed for that purpose. A soft mouthed dog such as a lab or retriever will not tend to snap and if they do they are bred to use their mouth not teeth so that's worth baring in mind.

34DD Mon 03-Jun-13 15:20:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

34DD Mon 03-Jun-13 15:24:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

34DD Mon 03-Jun-13 15:27:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MummyOfSunbeam Tue 04-Jun-13 01:42:27

Eek - thanks v much everybody. I was hoping to hear the opposite! My DP has been saying Jack Russells are wonderfully calm and placid family dogs (based on his gran's as a child), but I have been hearing a lot on this thread and elsewhere about how they aren't - and while i recognise it is unfair to generalise about any particular breed, the thing ALL the dog owners have been reiterating is that any dog needs to be respected as potentially snapping/biting and baby must always be supervised....

But a) supervision hasn't prevented some terrible things, and b) I doubt baby and dog wd be kept that apart and always very actively supervised.

I hoped this CM wd work out because she is so kind and warm and in those ways so much better than nursery. I have gone through every other CM on the council list and ofsted site and and distance is an issue in each. The nursery I just don't feel ok about in terms of warmth - not at all sad but this cm I do - except for what I have now learned re dogs!

tabulahrasa Tue 04-Jun-13 02:40:25

It's relatively easy to not leave a dog alone with children...dogs as a rule can't open doors or stairgates and you train your dog to come with you when you leave the room.

Just ask what happens if she has to go to the toilet or answer the door.

I have a dog and a toddler and they never meet without a barrier between them - and never have.

This isn't because my dog has ever done anything, she hasn't, it's because I wouldn't trust any dog with a child and any child with a dog.

We have a playroom at the front of the house and children play there and in the hallway. The sitting room is off the kitchen and the door between the hall and the kitchen is gated. The dog has free run of the back of the house but is never allowed through to the front. Obviously children do come through to the back for various reasons but the dog is always put outside in her sectioned part of the garden.

My point is it IS possible to completely segregate children and dogs - I do it with my own child and with other children too.

It is solely dependant on the views of the person. I adore my dog but am well aware that ANY dog can turn at any time so I make the choice to segregate completely rather than risk it.

Speak to her about how she manages interaction between children and dog before making a decision. At my house I could demonstrate why they would never meet - she may be able to do the same.

mamadoc Tue 04-Jun-13 08:02:24

It is possible. I just told you that my CM does it.

If she goes to the loo or answers the door she puts the dog in his crate or in the kitchen behind the stair gate or out in the garden. The dog actually goes to his crate when he hears the doorbell!

They got out to groups and activities every morning anyway and when they are home The dog doesn't much want to hang out with squealing toddlers anyhow so he usually takes himself off to the garden or his bed.

The on.y interaction they have is supervised and wholly positive eg taking dog for a walk,throwing a ball in the park, stroking only when supervised by the CM.

If I were you I wouldn't rule it out until you've discussed it. It all depends on attitude. My MIL also has dogs who I feel a lot less happy about around DS because they are not trained or obedient at all; jump up, beg for food, seem very nervy and highly strung and because she loves her dogs so much that she just believes and trusts they won't hurt DS rather than active.y manages it.

Sarah1611 Tue 04-Jun-13 08:50:19

But just it terms of what Coola is saying, see what the CM does at the moment. It would be very easy for her to say she'll do it, but if she doesn't see it as necessary at all it's likely she may just not do it, believing she knows the dog better than you. A totally unfair presumption on my part but there's a big difference between someone keeping dog/children apart because they think its the right thing, and someone doing it because they've been told to. JRs are sometimes seen as 'good family dogs' because they're small but it's definitely not as simple as that. What about a nanny share option, have you considered that?

Goldmandra Tue 04-Jun-13 14:44:16

I have childminded with two dogs for a couple of years.

My JRT has never been allowed to interact with childminded children despite never having been aggressive towards my own.

One a few occasions, when I have had only one child in my care I have (with the parents' blessing) brought the mixed breed puppy through to play for a minute or two. The dog has been within arm's reach at all times and I've used it as an opportunity to teach the child how to enjoy being around dogs safely.

The dogs have had the run of the kitchen and utility while I have been minding and we've had the living room, dining room, playroom and garden.

I've put the dogs in their crates for short times if we were doing kitchen based activities but they don't mind because they choose to sleep in them anyway.

It was my choice to make these arrangements - no parent ever had to request it.

It was perfectly possibly to keep the children safe by keeping them apart. Only some sort of freak accident would have brought them together and, even then, the dogs were very unlikely to harm the children. The risk was therefore no higher that a childminder who lived near a busy road or had a neighbour with dogs.

If I were considering a childminder for my own child I would only choose one with a dog if they volunteered the fact that they automatically keep the dogs and children apart all the time and could tell me very clearly how they did that. I would never allow anyone to leave a dog roaming free with my toddler or someone else's, ever.

MummyOfSunbeam Tue 04-Jun-13 14:59:56

Met her today -she is totally lovely

But dog and babies won't be segregated at all as most of you advised. He interacts with all the children - he does seem gentle but I am apprehensive. The here hear old boy there was encouraged to give him his play bone and to feed him dry do food from his hand and the dog did take that very meekly.

The cm said there is a crate so if she leaves to go downstairs to answer door etc dog will go in crate. But segregation definitely doesn't happen at all

MummyOfSunbeam Tue 04-Jun-13 15:01:06

Three year old boy (feeding from hand)

Theas18 Tue 04-Jun-13 15:15:16

My CM had a dog/dogs. They lived in the conservatory behind a dog gate. They went with the kids for walks on leads etc All was well. The very bouncy black lab was only around when the kids were junior age, before then it was a couple of rather hairy cushion type dogs!

Actually I think the kids benefitted from the dogs being about.

MummyOfSunbeam Tue 04-Jun-13 15:22:36

Nanny share appeals but I don't think we can afford it :/ we are at our max with the nursery or cm option

She is WONDERFUL - the most warm and loving person - I can totally imagine my little one happy in her arms and she ADORES he children. A really lovely CM. PERFECT except for the dog worry.

The dog came up to my baby while she was sitting in the floor. My baby tried to reah for it and they called it away a foot or so. It was totally calm even when eating its play bone, which the childmindee boy was giving it.

Oh dear. I wish the dog wasn't an issue. She is so ideal and lovely.

debduck Tue 04-Jun-13 16:24:16

I have been a childminder for many years and have an old staffie cross which is the softest brush ever, but he stayed upstairs during minding hours, occaisionally coming down for supervised petting. I now have an old Westie and wouldnt trust a doll in it's presence. Bloody snappy old git. If I was still minding it would go to my dad's for the day. The childminder probably has a policy and I would go and visit again when she is working and see how she manages it. Dont be put off immediately. It's a tricky one.

suckmabigtoe Tue 04-Jun-13 16:34:47

i have a dog and he is part of the family- which means his effect on the family i staken into account on a daily basis just as much as my eldest's behaviour with my newborn son was taken into account. this means i dont leave him ever in a room with my dc unless i am there. i have a stairgate between my livingroom and kitchen and the dog automatically comes with me when i leave the room, even to the bathroom! (sometimes he lies outside the door but cant get to the living room or kitchen from there). when we are in teh house, the dog is in the house. when we are in the garden the dog is in the garden. if we are cooking or eating he goes in the back hall. if we are having messy play or something he would get in the way of he goes in the kitchen. if dcs are having a snack in the living room he goes in the kitchen. it is just habit now that we know where he needs to be when we are going to do certain things. he is never left alone with my dcs or any of their friends that come to the house. i am registering as a CMer and these will be the rules i follow when i have mindees. any prospective families will be told them upfront. it really isn't very hard to keep him separated from dcs if you want to. i love my dog and he is so gentle but i dont trust that he will never snap- he has the ability so i dont take the risk.

Thurlow Tue 04-Jun-13 16:44:01

I think this would be a dealbreaker for me too. I wouldn't be keen on a CM with a dog overall, but there are certain breads I would find more acceptable - and a JRT isn't one of them, sorry. They are ratters, their natural instinct would be to bite and shake and really hold one. MiL has a JRT and even though she dotes on her, the dog is away in another room when our toddler is there.

Obviously it is entirely down to you, everyone has different dealbreakers. The fact that the dog interacts so completely with the mindees would be a concern for me personally. A larger dog that was outside a lot, or in the kitchen behind a safety gate, for example, wouldn't be so bad. A small, nippy dog like a JRT, one that is generally considered to need a lot of training, has the ability to really snap.

Goldmandra Tue 04-Jun-13 16:46:03

I completely understand that you think she's a lovely childminder but I wouldn't put my toddler in her care.

When we adopted our dogs we had to go to training sessions. The trainer told us about two dogs she knew who had suddenly turned on children and had to be put down. They did post mortems on both dogs because their behaviour was so out of character. One had a couple of inches of pencil through its eardrum and the other had several staples in its back.

It isn't just about the nature of the dogs. It's just as much about what the children can do to hurt them. The trainer pointed out that the second dog had clearly put up with a lot if it didn't turn on the first or second staple. They can all turn if the right thing happens when the adult's back is turned.

tabulahrasa Tue 04-Jun-13 17:00:20

I'd have no problem with a dog being around children as long as it's under responsible supervision.

I've had dogs the whole time my children have been alive, it's never been an issue.

MummyOfSunbeam Tue 04-Jun-13 17:01:05

Wow Gold - v good point re the pencil/staples. Obviously I would hope my LO wouldn't be horribly cruel like that, but she can pull my hair out and really kick me painfully and not at all realise it hurts (she is still v small) and I would worry she wouldn't realise need to be very delicate. If dd were older and could talk - not a baby - then we could explain it a bit more easily.....

Thurlow Tue 04-Jun-13 17:02:31

I'd be much happier with older children and a dog. Babies/toddlers just don't have the language skills for you to explain to them, and could easily accidentally hurt or anger a dog.

MummyOfSunbeam Tue 04-Jun-13 17:03:48

Some added info - she is new to CMing (but a natural - I can't describe how lovely and warm she is!) - been doing it less than a year. And the JRT is a year and a half old I think - I thought older but no. Has been raised with children from the start. (I sill think segregation would be pref tho)

MummyOfSunbeam Tue 04-Jun-13 17:05:13

Thurlow exactly :/ especially since there will be other little ones all aroind the dog too all at once.

NarkyNamechanger Tue 04-Jun-13 17:43:42

Why not ask her if it were possible to segregate? Let her know it's a deal breaker.

ReetPetit Tue 04-Jun-13 18:58:17

Everything you've said in your last post makes this even worse, she is new to cm and the dog is young. However 'nice' you think she is, it just isn't worth the risk.

Goldmandra Tue 04-Jun-13 19:12:25

The thing is toddlers and pre-schoolers don't always have the insight to realise that they are inflicting pain. Even with an adult in the room they can stick fingers in ears and eyes causing the dog to react to protect itself.

mamadoc Tue 04-Jun-13 20:52:35

There's no way the baby or the dog can be responsible for their behaviour it is down to the adult to supervise.

It is basically up to whether you can talk to her and get assurances that she will keep the dog away from your baby and whether you trust those assurances.

A 3 year old is quite different to a baby. I still wouldn't leave them alone together but I think they could be trusted to have more interaction because the 3 year old can be explained to and understand how to interact with animals. It may be that she is willing to make different rules for your baby.

If you are starting off a CM relationship then trust and communication are really the most important things so if you are able to have a good discussion about it and come to a compromise it could bode well for the future.

MummyOfSunbeam Thu 06-Jun-13 10:20:18

Well, things have moved on a bit. My DH has pointed out that despite my wide-eyed enthusiasm for the CM there are other issues beyond the dog, namely the other safety issues but marble fireplace without any edge proofing (a rug sometimes put over the edge but not always and that's it), climbable bookcase display thing not attached to wall, big glass coffee table with no corner proofing, big upward flight of stairs with no gate, bathroom with no gate or toilet lock. I still love the CM but her house isn't set up for babies yet and she didn't mention any further child proofing plans - so far her CMs have been 4-4, the three year old there now is very new. Also baby would sleep on sofa sometimes wedged in with coffee table and I think dd would crawl off and fall because she is very mobile - already taking free steps at 8.5 months so likely to be even more mobile at 12.

Cm is still the person I wish we're caring for her though. She is so warm. The safety concerns seem real to me though - our house is massively childproofed and I know I am a bit PFB about hat so I assumed that as a professional she hasn't done it because she knows more than I do. But I think that I would need a lot of safety adjustments. I will talk to her, but she has said already that the dog qouldnt be segregated

Thurlow Thu 06-Jun-13 11:06:56

Ok, that is a lot of things wrong with the house! Just picturing my CM's house, everything is gated, no open bookcases, the main room is definitely set up so that if the kids are on their own for a minute (lets be reasonable, the CM has to pee sometimes grin) there is nothing dangerous. Your CM's living room sounds genuinely dangerous for looking after a group of children.

And I actually don't have words for the idea that an 8mo baby is going to be expected to sleep on the sofa shock I know plenty of older kids will nap for half an hour on the sofa, but a baby? No way. Travel cots don't cost much.

MummyOfSunbeam Thu 06-Jun-13 11:17:12

That is helpful to hear Thurlow! I was thinking of starting a thread to see if I was being unreasonable to expect more child proofing - as I said, I am weirdly assuming she must know best since I am just new mum and she is professional cm (albeit for less than a year and not w baby/#oddler mindees yet).

So it IS weird not to have more childproof ing then. Hmmmm.

Thurlow Thu 06-Jun-13 11:32:08

From what you've described, I would expect the fireplace to at least have those little rubber corners on, the bookcase to be screwed to the wall, a gate on the bottom of the stairs, and probably change the coffee table for something safer - though I could be wrong on that one, maybe decent glass coffee tables are actually unbreakable?

Thurlow Thu 06-Jun-13 11:33:47

Another thought - are there any other CMs you can visit to just see what their set-up is like? Or maybe start another thread asking for the standards of safety that should be expected. I know what I think, but I only saw two other CMs before we met the right one, so I could be wrong!

ReetPetit Thu 06-Jun-13 11:36:29

omg op - don't go there! shock

that is crazy - baby sleeping on sofa wedged in by coffee table and all the other things you have mentioned, no, no, no...

very surprised she hasn't set up any safety mesaures. ofsted would not allow this - i'm assuming she hasn't had an ofsted yet??

don't look at this through rose tinted glasses or with desperation - don't put your baby at risk - she sounds very unflexible - not segregating the dog is wrong too. Don't use her, there must be another option.

Where are you??

Thurlow Thu 06-Jun-13 11:59:29

She obviously doesn't realise/remember the vast difference between a 3yo and a new cruiser. If you are certain that you want her as a CM, I'd make a few things non-negotiable:

Childgates on the stairs and the kitchen/bathroom doors
Travel cot for the baby to sleep in upstairs (every CM I saw had babies sleeping in one of the bedrooms)
Bookcase bolted to the wall
Toilet lock
Possibly lagging etc around the hearth, though I suppose that one depends - we have a hearth and have never protected it (well, we did try once but DD ripped the rubber corners off and ate them...) but I would probably expect more from a CM

Also, as she's a bit crap on these things, I would ask to see the pushchair and car seat she would be using, and also her Ofsted report to confirm she can have babies, not just toddlers.

But the dog mixing with the children would still be an absolute dealbreaker. As others have said, a 1yo just won't understand enough to control themselves.

ReetPetit Thu 06-Jun-13 12:04:24

the problem is Thurlow, op can't insist on any of these things, the cm is self employed and running her business as she sees fit. Personally, it doesn't sound good enough to me but the op can't actually request or put in force that she does anything because she is not employing her - and won't witness what she does with the dog during the day. just because the dog is in the garden at drop off/pick up, doesn't mean its there all day!

And unless op is willing to pay for stair gates/travel cots etc (all of which cm should have anyway) she can't insist on them... she just needs to take her business elsewhere.

Thurlow Thu 06-Jun-13 12:18:01

She can sort of insist, as in "unless you provide a travel cot and stairgates etc I'm not going to use you". But you're right, it's not enforceable. And there would be no way of knowing that the dog wasn't in the house when she wasn't there to see.

Tanith Thu 06-Jun-13 14:02:04

Actually, I don't have a stairgate up. Heard of too many nasty accidents where someone has fallen down the stairs and hit the gate at the bottom. I do have a gate across the playroom to stop babies and young toddlers from accessing them, though.

Just saying, a lack of stairgate isn't necessarily a problem if the childminder has identified the risk and is dealing with it - that's why Ofsted no longer insist on them.

Agree with all the rest, though especially the dog having free access to the children.

MummyOfSunbeam Thu 06-Jun-13 14:03:01

Some great great news. Oh my lord.

I just can't send her there to cm as t is now at present. I just can't. At home we have covered every available surface with foam and childproofed everything you can imagine! I know we have probably overdone it but she is SO mobile and wobbly we truly had to.

But thankfully there is wonderful news. The nursery is NOT cold like I thought. I just had a long talk to them. Hey cuddle the babies all the time!!! I had the impression hey didn't but they do and in fact the other staff from other rooms keep sneaking in to cuddle them too! I am so new to this I had the impression nurseries don't have time to do that but this has very high ratios staff to child. Hey have been really lovely to us actually have agreed a really gentle settling in and are really trying to help accommodate my more unusual requests. And they are MUCH safer!!!!

MummyOfSunbeam Thu 06-Jun-13 14:12:28

I am interested re the ofsted assessment too. So new hasn't been assessed yet - I contacted them to ask.

Tanith Thu 06-Jun-13 14:13:51

Did they tell you this, or did you see it for yourself?

If so, I would go back for another visit before committing yourself. I mean, it's great if they really are different from your first impression, but you need to make sure they're not just saying that to get you through the door!

Sorry to be a dampner, but I think you need to see it for yourself and talk to the staff. Trust your instinct and take your DH with you for a second opinion.

MummyOfSunbeam Thu 06-Jun-13 15:13:17

Very good questionTanith. They told me but I also saw it during visiting. Little boy came scampering over to the manager while I was there and said 'cuddle!' And she scooped him up and was totally adorable - he was clearly very used to being squeezed and beamed at and they had jokes. While i walked around, one room had the staff member just sitting hugging a very serious little boy the entire time - he was sitting in her lap and just chilling out while others played, and each timd i walked past i saw he was still being hugged. There was a grandmotherly staff member who basically exuded warmth and even got a smile out if my (recently very shy) dd - I offered her dd and she cuddled v expertly.

. I am still uneasy about letting her go anywhere that isn't basically me. But that is different from the specific and i now think reasonable anxieties I had at the start of the thread.

Goldmandra Thu 06-Jun-13 16:07:50

I am interested re the ofsted assessment too. So new hasn't been assessed yet - I contacted them to ask.

This childminder is working without being inspected? It's a long time since I went through the registration process so perhaps things have changed a lot but I don't think you can start minding without an inspection visit.

Any newly registered minders who can confirm that?

Her set-up sounds too dangerous to get a decent grade to me.

Can you visit the nursery without an appointment just to be sure you're getting the right impression? It does sound like the better option to me.

skyeskyeskye Thu 06-Jun-13 16:14:04

My friend is a childminder and her dog is behind a stair gate in the kitchen when children are there and only comes out when they go for a walk.

This woman's house sounds dangerous and I can't believe that she has been passed by Ofsted without taking some safety measures...

Stoney666 Thu 06-Jun-13 16:18:45

My stairs don't have a gate
Ofsted have always been fine with it my playroom door has a Gate and if children are near stairs for any particular reason (getting ready to go out) they are always supervised. It's not possible to cover and protect everything life isn't like that!
We have a golden retriever he sits in the garden with us otherwise is not allowed in the playroom. People are aware of this and it's never been an issue. To be honest he tends to ignore the children but likes to greet the adults if its a new face grin

Goldmandra Thu 06-Jun-13 16:25:45

Babies sleeping on a sofa and a climbable bookcase not fixed to a wall are both very dangerous and, please correct me if I'm wrong, Ofsted would grade the setting inadequate because the risk of death or serious injury is too high.

Stoney666 Thu 06-Jun-13 16:37:08

Sofa not at all should have travel cot I have several! book case probably yes if that's the room used for minding but children should never be left unattended anyway! not that young. I just think covering every surface etc is not practicable what happens when u visit friend etc ? but if u have any doubts I would look else where it's only going to make it harder for you at work worrying.

MummyOfSunbeam Thu 06-Jun-13 20:45:16

Ofsted up here are a bit different I think (Scotland, called something different but same thing) - cm is on their site registered but they do not write a public inspection until some time during the first year. That hasn't happened yet because not quite been doing it for a full year - that is what they say when I asked where the report was.

Yeah I may have exaggerated every available surface but we have been REALLy thorough. We do take dd to friends nd to lots of places without babyproofing but we have I watch like a hawk. She went mobile so young we do have to be careful - am jealous of a friend whose dd didn't really start clambering until sixteen months and could talk a bit and be negotiated with! smile

Goldmandra Thu 06-Jun-13 21:46:55

Thanks OP. It's interesting to know that things are different in Scotland. I'm not sure I like the idea of people being able to childmind without an inspection. I guess they must do some checks before they go ahead at least.

adelecorbett Mon 10-Jun-13 07:41:33

I'm a child-minder have been since 2010, I got my lab puppy 2 weeks before minding and he's grew up around the children, he has the run of the house (apart from the playroom), my mindees and parents love him and he loves them, he's the most soft dogs I've ever met, saying this I wouldn't leave him alone with the children more for his sake though

its really simple to make sure he's not left alones, when I'm not in sight of the children (if I go the loo or the door or phone etc. he just follows me and comes with me

the children do have access to him and love to take him for walks with me, play with his toys with him and give him treats

parents all sign a consent form stating that they are fine with their child to be around him and interact with him (supervised of course) if I did have a parent who didn't want to sign the consent then I would explain I probably wasn't the right child-minder for them

my dog spends most of the day sleeping in the front room or sometimes takes him self up to his bed in my bedroom, the children are taught how to respect him and to treat him nicely - in my opinion having a dog around young children can be very good for them they learn how to treat them and how to care for them

ive also had one of my mindees start with me because I had a dog as he was scared of dogs and parents didn't want him to be - he now adores my dog and is getting a lot better with other dogs

mrsthomsontobe Mon 10-Jun-13 08:09:34

I'm a childminder in scotland and they don't do a big proper grading inspection when you are registering . they will check your house is safe , tell u to correct anything that is not, check your risk assessments , check through all your policies and procedures. you are all reference check and police checked. a normal inspection won't be done until about 6- 12 months after you have been registered so that you have children on role and all the policies and procedures that you set up to register and said you would do they can only really see that in practice when your up and running .

harverina Mon 10-Jun-13 08:48:32

Personally I wouldn't choose a cm with a dog. I am an animal lover and grew up with dogs - I just don't feel that a cm can guarantee that the dog will never be left alone with your child. There are likely to be other children there who will take the cm's attention away at times - toddlers who need to be taken to the toilet, for example.

I wouldn't risk it. Our cm has cats, which was very nearly a deal breaker for me.

Goldmandra Mon 10-Jun-13 08:54:12

they will check your house is safe , tell u to correct anything that is not

So should the inspector not have picked up on the unfixed bookcase and the plan to have babies sleeping on the sofa?

IShallCallYouSquishy Mon 10-Jun-13 09:09:31

The childminder my DD has just started with has a dog. Every time I've been there he pays no attention whatsoever to the children. He is the softest thing ever and loves having a fuss made of him if one of them do go over.

The CM never ever leaves him with a child alone. Not even for a second. They have an area that is gated off or he goes in the garden. I think it's a lovely way to show children how to look after animals too.

mrsthomsontobe Mon 10-Jun-13 17:11:02

Yes they should have noticed but possibly childminder wrote on risk assessment attach bookcase to wall and hasn't got round to it yet and the inspector may have read risk assessment and accepted that and not actually checked. Also they childminder would nver have told inspector about baby sleeping in couch she would have said I will use a pram or travel cot. Sometimes inspectors want to see these things other times they might accept that you don't yet have that item as you have no idea which age of children you will have so not point filling with baby stuff then you get lots of 3 year olds or after school kids.

Goldmandra Mon 10-Jun-13 17:52:38

I guess that's a difference between the two systems.

I would expect Ofsted to require that the enviroment is made safe as a condition of the minder starting work. If they started without completing it they would not be fulfilling their conditions of registration and therefore be taking children illegally.

Goldmandra Mon 10-Jun-13 17:53:33

I can spell environment really! blush

MummyOfSunbeam Tue 11-Jun-13 09:13:57

Does ofsted actually check the details of the risk assessment have happened? The Scottish one does accept the carer's word sometimes. Incidentally the CM did remind me that her house has been approved as safe by them, after I flagged up concerns re the fireplace and bookcase.

Goldmandra Tue 11-Jun-13 09:43:51

It's a long time since I registered. In those days they went through your house with a fine tooth comb and told you what changes you needed to make. They then came back and checked that you had made the changes before issuing your certificate.

I know things changed and they started flagging up more minor safety issues in reports rather than insisting things were changed but I would still expect them to make a fuss about inappropriate sleeping arrangements and unfixed bookcases.

Maybe someone who has registered recently could tell us more.

GladbagsGold Tue 11-Jun-13 10:13:25

OP glad you seem to have a solution now. I wouldn't be put off a CM with pets (I am allergic to most fluffy things so its great for DC to have animals elsewhere iyswim) - but the lack of overall safety does sound worrying.

Both my DC walked, climbed etc v early and had much more mobility than sense. They went to a cuddly caring nursery and thrived. They are 8 and 6 now but still in touch with their key workers from nursery.

Good luck as it is hard letting someone else look after your baby. Do prepare yourself for when she comes home smelling of someone else's perfume. It is A Very Good Thing and means they've been cuddling. But will make your heart do a little twang. That's normal.

MummyOfSunbeam Tue 11-Jun-13 13:19:35

Glad so true ! Someone warned me of that perfume twang when I was pregnant, before I had her. I thought of it again recently and this time just felt huge relief that it would mean she had been cuddled. In fact I think I will be upset if I can't smell any !! I just totally hope she is showered with love and affection.

It is comforting to hear your own LOs (bigger now!) thrived. I think the nursery is the way to go given her mobility and safety generally, and given my enhanced knowledge of the nursery.

THANKYOU everyone who has posted on this thread. You have helped me make sense of a really painful decision!

Goldmandra Tue 11-Jun-13 21:55:20

Oh dear. I never thought of that!

Our house is fragrance free so I never wear perfume. I hope the parents I've minded for don't think I didn't cuddle their LOs sad

MummyOfSunbeam Wed 12-Jun-13 11:02:39

Grin - I am sure they realise gold! We are fragrance free here too, and I never wear any. So I really notice it on her hair etc after someone else hugs her! But I must celebrate it as a sign that she is being cherished. (Just hope I am not allergic to whatever they wear! Am allergi to quite a lot of fragrance)

Goldmandra Wed 12-Jun-13 12:31:27

Allergies are issue here too, along with sensory processing.

Parents have always seemed very happy so hopefully they have never read MN and expected to smell perfume smile

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Wed 12-Jun-13 12:51:18

I never wear any fragrance if I know I am going to be spending time with a small baby - I just think it's nicer for them... but you can still guarantee they've been cuddled to within an inch of their lives grin

The nursery sounds better for your needs and don't forget - if you don't like it, you can move her smile

PS: 'A dog' wouldn't be a deal breaker for me, but a Jack Russel would for sure. Nasty nippy little buggers that I wouldn't trust even if there was an adult present all the time. I'd sooner have a big old soft rottie smile

whatisyourview Sat 15-Jun-13 21:31:33

I think its safe as long as the dog and baby are happy. Always ask to see OFSTED information and if he/she refuses, look at the Certificate of Registration for the code. It should start with EY for Early Years. Pop that into the OFSTED Tracker and you can also use this for any childcare as long as their registered. Hope this helped!

Jiina Sun 16-Jun-13 02:49:00

I've been working for just over a year and my dog was three months old when I started. He's a big dog, and he has free range of the house when the children are here. In reality this means he has free range to move between the sofas and comfy chairs so he can snooze all bloody morning. He adores his babies (he waits for them in the window in the morning), and they love him right back. Because he's basically grown up alongside them, he's used to having things thrown at him, dropped on him, being painted, 'patted' over enthusiasically, etc. I still don't ever leave them alone together - if I need to pee he goes in another room with the door shut. Same when people are leaving or arriving (he's very good at this now). If he gets too bouncy I just put him out in the garden.

A dog wouldn't be an automatic deal breaker for me, but unsecured bookshelves, stone fireplaces with no fire guard, and a baby sleeping on the sofa definitely would be. Especially when the CM sees nothing wrong with that!

BTW, Ofsted actually do two kinds of inspection for new childminders:

A registration inspection is to make sure that your home is safe, that you have the necessary qualifications (first aid, etc) and that your paperwork is coming together (risk assessments, etc) and happens before they issue you with your registration certificate.

A grading inspection occurs within the first 6 months of you taking on a child, because they give you the time to build up a relationship with the child (or not, as the case may be) so that they can assess you on your actual work skills and how well you actually care for the children.

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