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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.

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.

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!

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

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

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 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 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!

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.

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.

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 Mon 10-Jun-13 17:53:33

I can spell environment really! blush

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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 .

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

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.

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

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.

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 16:18:45

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

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...

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.

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