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To expect a childminder not to break the law

(88 Posts)
Reallytired Thu 13-Sep-07 17:47:59

My son who is 5 years old and 111cm high told me that the childminder made him sit in the front seat of a car with just an adult seat belt. I believe him because I don't think he has any reason to lie. He has no idea what the law is on children and car seats.

I am furious because we always use a booster seat when my son goes in a car. The law states that children who are under the age of 12 and under 139cm tall should use a suitable child restraint.

My gut feeling is that my son is not going to that childminder again.

Do you think that I have grounds for a formal complaint to OFSTED?

Saturn74 Thu 13-Sep-07 17:49:11

I think you need to speak to the childminder.

law3 Thu 13-Sep-07 17:50:39

where does he usually sit when with the childminder?

beansprout Thu 13-Sep-07 17:51:38

Speak to the CM.

BananaPudding Thu 13-Sep-07 17:54:06

Personally, I would switch CMs. My reaction would be "She couldn't be that concerned with my child's welfare, could she?"

Either that or ignorant of the law pertaining to children's safety, which she should know very well considering her profession!

Reallytired Thu 13-Sep-07 18:11:03

I have signed a contract saying that I would give her 4 weeks notice.

However I feel she has broken the contract by not using a proper child restraint in the back of the car.

Do you think it would be really mean of me to refuse to pay her for the four weeks notice?

BananaPudding Thu 13-Sep-07 18:14:42

I don't, personally. I take no chances with my dd's safety and don't mince words with anyone who does.

PSCMUM Thu 13-Sep-07 18:15:14

if you do decide to sack her. you need to put in writing why, including how dangerous her behaviour was, not to mention illegal, it was extremely risky etc. I'm not sure legally spekaing, but i'd hazard a guesss that you're well within your rights to sack ker with immediate effect! tell her you are considering complaint to ofsted also to make sure she doens't do anything

MaureenMLove Thu 13-Sep-07 18:16:36

People and car seats! When is it going to sink in with these people, and a childminder at that!!!angry

I would certainly terminate you contract. Its all very well having a chat with her, but how do you know that she won't do it again?

You can try not paying her, but if you've signed a contract, you should pay her. She could get nasty and get legal advise on it. That said, if she's foolish enough to flout the law on chair seats with other peoples children, she might not be that bothered.

I suppose you ought to speak to her first though, there may be a reasonable explanation.

moondog Thu 13-Sep-07 18:20:43

I am having a dingdong with my education authority at present who expect my dd to travel to a language unit 17 miles away in a car with a

1.) Strange man (taxi driver from God knows where that I have never met.)
2.) 3 other kids all of whome are dropped off at different places
3.) No escort
4.) No boosters

Bear in mind that all 4 children are between 4 and 6 with communication problems.
Strangely they seem surprised at my utter refusal to accept this situation.

moondog Thu 13-Sep-07 18:21:19

Oh, and one i the front.
Taxi drivers also change regulalry so in effect more strange blokes appear throughout the week.

KaySamuels Thu 13-Sep-07 18:22:50

I'm pretty sure she would be in breach of contract and therefore you wouldn't have to pay her the 4 wks notice. Tell her in writing, she hasn't met her end of the contract, thus breaking it.

It amazes me people still aren't using car seats! I mean anyone can see you driving around with kids on their bums instead of boosters, if she wasn't concerned from a safety pov, surely she wouldnt want to be caught breaking the law! angry

Yes I would complain to Ofsted they won't strike her off, but will ensure she is scared shitless and doesn't ever risk it again with another child!

moondog Thu 13-Sep-07 18:24:13

I have spent a lot of the last week looking into this and if it is a one off,she isn't breaking the law however.
Believe me,have combed the literature.

ProjectIcarusinhercar Thu 13-Sep-07 18:27:55

The taxi drivers near me do education runs. One was proudly telling me how he had training on dealing with the boy he will be transporting(he has autism) showed me the booster he uses and described the home visit he had with a member of staff to get to know the lad in advance of the transport starting.

He has also been crb checked before he could transport the child.

That sounds fine to me, anything less I wouldn't be happy with.

KaySamuels Thu 13-Sep-07 18:29:21

Yes think as a one off,
ie regular person picking up is ill and someone else with seat has stepped in, or you were dashing to hospital, or booster had been damaged and where on way to buy one. Can't see how a cm would get away with the one of excuse. I know I have more kids safety equipment than a shop would have in stock!

Reallytired Thu 13-Sep-07 18:31:21

My son tells me that she has let him travel without a car seat 3 times, Its not a one off.

I have fully sympathy with your situation. If you lent a booster seat, would the school be prepared to look after it until home time?

KaySamuels Thu 13-Sep-07 18:31:25

thats without

I know taxi drivers in my area have the same child each day, have training etc too. Spoken to a couple of them that do it, enjoy it and seem really caring and committed to the families they transport. Can understand your worries though. smile

StrawberryMartini Thu 13-Sep-07 20:14:35

Have you posted on the childminding board? I'm sure they'd be horrified at what she did but they'd be able to advise you on the legal side of it. She's not broken the contract because there's nothing in the contract about seatbelts! You probably signed something saying she could take your child in her car but it would not have been detailed enough to mention booster seats - this should have been discussed with her before you took her on.

dustystar Thu 13-Sep-07 20:17:57

You need to talk to her and make a complaint. If you don't feel comfortable with that you can ring a freephone number at the NCMA for advice. i'll just go and find the number

dustystar Thu 13-Sep-07 20:18:51

Ok the number is 0800 169 86

dustystar Thu 13-Sep-07 20:20:25

Your CM has to have a complaints procedure in place and if you put it in writing she must investigate it and provide you with a copy of the outcome within 28 days.

You can contact OFSTED straight away but i think the best course of action is to apporach the childminder first.

Shoshable Thu 13-Sep-07 20:24:54

I have a 7 seater car and 13 car seats!! Different ones for different children

National Standards

www.surestart.gov.uk/_doc/0-FD50C7.pdf

look up Standard 6.17

smeeinit Thu 13-Sep-07 20:26:14

reallytired, i would strongly recomend you talk to your cm, one of my mindees also 5 went home and told his mum "nik says i need a better car seat as my one is rubbish" !! now i ahdnt of course said anything of the sort,however i did have 2 new mindees started that week who came with brand spanking new car seats and turns out mindee just wanted one like theirs!
so please talk to your cm before doing anything if this is your only concern. smile

Reallytired Thu 13-Sep-07 20:44:11

"Have you posted on the childminding board? I'm sure they'd be horrified at what she did but they'd be able to advise you on the legal side of it. She's not broken the contract because there's nothing in the contract about seatbelts! You probably signed something saying she could take your child in her car but it would not have been detailed enough to mention booster seats - this should have been discussed with her before you took her on. "

fgs having a five year old in a car seat IS LAW. It is not something open up for discussion. Does it really have to be mentioned in a contract that she agrees to comply with British law?

It only costs £10 for a booster seat. She has no excuse. If she had been in a car accident the chances of my son being killed would be fairly high. It is why car seats have to used by law.

The first line of the contract says that she agrees to care for my child. In my opinon she has failed to do this by not making sure he is safe in the car.

Reallytired Thu 13-Sep-07 20:45:52

Thank you for your supportive messages and thank you for the phone number dustystar.

The sure start link on national standards is really useful as well.

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