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Hot drinks at playgroups? Advice please.

(32 Posts)
franch Tue 22-Mar-05 19:23:26

I've read a couple of threads on this subject before but would really like some thoughts on what is thought to be 'best practice' with regards to hot teas & coffees for mums and dads at playgroups. I've started taking DD (14m) to a lovely singalong type session once or twice a week and afterwards we all move into an adjacent room where the woman serves tea to the mums. There are cups of scalding-hot liquid everywhere! Most mums are very careful but some with very young babies, for example, are less aware of the antics of scarily fast crawlers like DD.

Nothing has happened - yet - of course, but I'm not entirely comfortable with the safety of all this. I could of course leave before tea is served but one of the reasons I go is to make contact with other mums.

What do other playgroups do? And what (if anything) would you do in my place?

maisystar Tue 22-Mar-05 19:27:20

yes tea and coffee is served at ours! i think it is normal practice tbh. i think most mums tend to watch them very carefully and never leave them unattended, but you are right it isn't ideal.

happymerryberries Tue 22-Mar-05 19:28:44

I have been to several m&T groups and they all served hot drinks

lockets Tue 22-Mar-05 19:29:49

Message withdrawn

Ameriscot2005 Tue 22-Mar-05 19:36:53

We have hot drinks at ours, and the mums take them back to their seats (or we serve them) near where the children are playing.

In all the years I've been doing this M&T, we've only had one accident - a particularly clutzy dad let his tray of 3 coffees fall, but fortunately there were no children involved. We've since said that you can only have one hot cup at a time, but turn a blind eye to careful parents.

We've discussed not having hot drinks, or making mums stand with them in a certain area, but decided that this wouldn't be acceptable to the parents. A lot of mums really value their cup of tea, however trivial it might seem to us.

franch Tue 22-Mar-05 19:41:44

Oh dear looks like I'm a paranoid mum. It doesn't help being married to an eye surgeon who deals every day with horrendous permanent injuries resulting from scenarios like this. It's amazing the damage a hot drink can do and however nice a cup of tea might be, is it really worth the risk? Oh well. Doesn't look like my worries are shared so I won't stick my neck out.

mrsflowerpot Tue 22-Mar-05 19:49:20

No, I think lots of people share your worries, and I think it can be done, at an organised group anyway, bit harder at say a soft play area. At the M&T group I used to go to, when I first went, the tea/coffee was a bit of a free for all, but then we started a system where the children all sat down round tables to have their juice etc at a set time, and once all the kids were safely sitting down, tea and coffee were served through a hatch to the mums who all stood around there, with a table nearby so you could put your drink down safely if you had to go attend to your child. So the hot drinks were in a contained area away from the children. There were usually one or two who stayed by the kiddy table (without hot drinks) to supervise, we would just take turns with that.

I do think that 2 hours at a toddler group is purgatory enough alot of the time without taking away the minor treat of a cup of tea and a custard cream with other adults.

Ameriscot2005 Tue 22-Mar-05 19:51:14

Franch, it really depends on your particular set-up. If you truly feel it is dangerous, then raise it with the committee.

We considered our hot drinks policy and decided that banning hot drinks was going to be detrimental to the group, and way out of line with the risks. We are a Christian group with a very supportive ethos - we do not want to put barriers in the way of needy mums coming to the group.

But your group may be different - size/shape of the hall, numbers of children, type of activities. Discuss it, if it is a concern, and if necessary, get the powers-that-be contact the insurer (likely the Preschool Learning Alliance) for advice.

franch Tue 22-Mar-05 19:52:48

That sounds sensible Mrs FP. The only thing is, a lot of the kids at this group aren't old enough to sit down round a table - DD for example is just 14m and would have to be strapped down!! She crawls around manically grabbing at everything in sight (and she's not the only one!), which makes the whole thing really difficult to manage. (This isn't a 2-hour playgroup BTW - just a 45-min singalong.)

Surfermum Tue 22-Mar-05 19:55:59

At our group hot drinks are served in those insulated cups with lids.

franch Tue 22-Mar-05 19:56:25

Many thanks Ameriscot. I put 'playgroups' in the title as a kind of catch-all, but as I've said below this is more of a drop-in singalong thing run by just one woman in a church hall - you just pay her on the day - so no committees or anything. I do feel it's dangerous but then so are a lot of things. Maybe my worries are out of proportion. I'd just never forgive myself if something did happen - severe scaldings in little ones are incredibly common.

SoupDragon Tue 22-Mar-05 19:56:40

I've been going to my toddler group for 5 years now and luckily we've not had an accident.

I think what you have to do is watch your DD and, like Lockets says, simply say something lighthearted if you think a particular cup is dangerous. Accidents do happen but as all these women are mothers, they should realise how to have a hot drink safely around children. IMO, carrying one drink should be safe enough, it's when you get into the realms of trays or carrying 2 ata time that it becomes more risky.

The hot coffee and a chat were the 2 most important things at toddler group for me so I can imagine it wouldn't be a popular idea to try and restrict the drinks in any way.

franch Tue 22-Mar-05 19:57:05

Do you think those cups are safer, Surfermum?

zippy539 Tue 22-Mar-05 19:59:03

One of the groups I go to has recently invested in those cups with lids (don't know what they're called but you drink out of the wee slot in the lid). Maybe you could suggest the same thing in a casual sort of manner ...

Ameriscot2005 Tue 22-Mar-05 19:59:49

It sounds tricky, Franch. Perhaps you could hold DD while the tea is being served and consumed? That way, she'd be above the danger zone, and it would only need to be for five minutes or so while the tea is dangerously hot. If you do this for a few sessions, it would give you a chance to assess the level of risk.

franch Tue 22-Mar-05 20:00:52

I agree about the importance of the chat, SD. The woman does bring the drinks in on a tray, which yes is a concern. I guess if I do decide to say something I have to decide what my problem is: the kind of cups / the tray / handling the cups safely / the presence of hot drinks at all. Maybe I'll just have to strap DD into her buggy or something (ha - that'll go down well with her!).

franch Tue 22-Mar-05 20:03:31

Would love to, Ameriscot, but I'm 4 months pg with awful back pain and not only does DD weigh a ton - she also doesn't take kindly to being kept away from the action so I'd be locked into a wrestling match with her, which might kind of defeat the purpose

misdee Tue 22-Mar-05 20:15:42

tea can scald 15mins after its made. remember childrens skin is more delicate.

i dont go to any groups where tea is served, but have to remind people that dd2 is clumsey so please put cups out of her way.

SoupDragon Tue 22-Mar-05 20:16:53

The tray does sound a bit risky. Ours are served form a hatch which means people only have one to carry.

I think your best bet is to watch the situation like a hawk.

mrsflowerpot Tue 22-Mar-05 20:26:28

We did find once it was raised as an issue and we had the new arrangements in place, it made people more aware. Also the hot drinks were contained in one area and people weren't walking around with them - they also tended to put their drink down before they went rushing off to round up an escapee child etc.

Surfermum Tue 22-Mar-05 20:37:03

Franch - I think they are safer. If one of the toddlers touches them they're cool to touch and if one were knocked over, or you were bumped there's a lid to keep the liquid in and it doesn't spill, apart from a tiny amout coming out of the hole you drink from.

They're not that nice tbh to drink from but it's a cuppa and one served by someone else.

jenthehen Tue 22-Mar-05 20:37:06

Hi Franch, this has always bothered me too, so when we took over the running of our mother and toddler group we set up a coffee drining table, it's set back slightly from most of the toys and we politely ask (insist!) that all hot drinks are consumed here. This seems to work well as the children are generally occupied with the toys, so out of the way and it gives mums a chance to chat and meet new people. Previous to this there were hot cups of tea everywhere, even left on the floor where babies were crawling! Even the mums who have been attending for years have come round to the idea and I feel happier that everyone is more safety conscious.

franch Tue 22-Mar-05 20:40:04

OK, thanks all. Will see how things go and give the whole thing some thought before saying anything.

franch Tue 22-Mar-05 20:41:52

Surfer & jen, our posts crossed. Useful ideas - many thanks

Evesmama Tue 22-Mar-05 21:19:32

i had same prob with one dd went too

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