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would you discount what seems like an excellent nursery because it has an unguarded pond?

55 replies

onesock · 27/06/2006 12:56

Just been to see a nursery for DS which has been recommended to me. It had a wonderful, homely feel and all the children seemed stimulated and motivated.
However, in the garden area they have a small pond. It's about 4ft by 4ft and 1ft deep. It had a tiny fence around it but that only came up to DS's chest and he's only just under 2 at the moment. It has no guard over the top.
They tried to reassure me by saying there is always 2 members of staff outside when the kids are but the garden is quite busy with apparatus, rabbit hutches, summer house etc and it goes around 2 sides of the house/nursery.

Am I worrying about nothing? Everything else was great; they(kids) grow their own veg, climb trees and learn through exploration. Just what I was looking for. I suppose it's the sort of environment in which you'd expect to find a pond but I know it would make me very nervous.

OP posts:
milward · 27/06/2006 12:58

If this worries you now it will worry you whilst he's there. I'd look for childcare I felt 100% about.

KBear · 27/06/2006 12:58

ponds are always a no no with small children IMO. Ask them if they would consider putting a grid over the pond. Can't believe Ofsted approve having it.

ScummyMummy · 27/06/2006 13:01

I'd ask about a grid too. It sounds semi guarded rather than unguarded from what you've said so with good supervision there shouldn't be a problem but i am quite paranoid about water and would have to be certain in my own mind that it was safe.

coppertop · 27/06/2006 13:02

I think it would depend on my child's personality tbh. My ds1 would have stayed away from it if told but my ds2 wouldn't be able to resist trying to climb over the fence to jump in.

You're obviously not happy about it so I think you would be better off looking elsewhere for a nursery place tbh.

MrsDoolittle · 27/06/2006 13:03

I wouldn't worry about it, not based on the information you've given.

Blu · 27/06/2006 13:05

It wouldn't worry me - if he was going to be left at the nursery I would have to believe that they weren't going to leave him unsupervised, pond or not, iyswim. But I would ask about a grid and be quite surprised that don't have one.

Polgara2 · 27/06/2006 13:06

Definite no, no I'm afraid. Unless they can put a very secure toddler-proof lid on it!!

PrettyCandles · 27/06/2006 13:06

My two went to a nursery where there were hazards all round the building (ungated access to concrete steps down into a basement at the back, for example). I too was worried about it, and got the same sort of reassurances as onesock got. I went with my instinct that this was, fundamentally, a good place, and my children were both very happy and completely safe there for the 2.5y they spent at that nursery. In all that time not only were there never any incidents (that I heard of), but no child ever got round the back - again, that I heard of, but parents talk to each other, especially if they have concerns about the runnign of the nursery.

By all means ask about the grid (these are apparently quite expensive though). But I think if you feel all else is good, then go with your gut-feeling. It's even a good opportunity for the los to learn abot the dangers of ponds etc.

thewomanwhothoughtshewasahat · 27/06/2006 13:07

no I don;t think you are worrying for nothing. However I wouldn't totally disregard it for a 2 year old - if the fence is up to his chest then I assume there is no way he could climb it - by the time he could he's fairly unlikely to drown in a foot of water. However is there a gate? and is the gate locked? what procedures do they use when unlocking it to look at the pond? eg who goes to look? when? how many kids do they have with them? I'm thinking mainly of the risk of someone coming along, opening the gate at a general play time and then getting distracted. If it was only ever unlocked for specific small group supervised pond-watching then it might be ok. If they look at you a bit funny for asking this, then I'd be worried. Ask them how offsted view it and ask if you can look at safety inspections/offsted report. It sounds like a lovely place and the pond is a lovely learning opportunity but you must be happy about safety first

thewomanwhothoughtshewasahat · 27/06/2006 13:16

look at this and reassure yourself that they work within these guidelines

onesock · 27/06/2006 13:19

Thanks everyone!
There is a gate with a child-proof lock and they are all told that they only visit the pond with a teacher. It's just that it's not closed off from where they have free play IYKWIM. DS is a very curious child who is facinated by all wildlife which, ironically is one of the reasons I wanted him to go to such a place.

Maybe I should ask to visit again when they are out playing. I'm trying so hard not to be an over protective mother but I can't stop worrying about it.

OP posts:
littlerach · 27/06/2006 13:21

Wasn't there a poster a while ago whose child had gone in the pond at nusrery?

Anyway, no I owuldn't be happy with it. Even if there were 2 mwmbers of staff at all times, what if another child hurt themselves; then the attention is on them. I know this is a what if... but it would concern me.

Perhaps comtact your local early years deot and see what they recommend.

Enid · 27/06/2006 13:23

It would worry me. I would be questioning the nursery if they didn't bother to spend the money to put a grid over it - a small outlay for a lot of reassurance.

LeahE · 27/06/2006 13:43

Have you looked at their latest Ofsted report? Does it mention the pond? I can see why you're torn -- it sounds like a fab place but I would be worried about the pond too. I'm surprised that they haven't installed a grille. I'd be inclined to print off the ROSPA leaflet that twwtswah linked to and take that in to discuss with the management.

jellyjelly · 27/06/2006 14:35

Yes the post was mine about my son going in the pond. IT is still fenced off until the grid can be turned over and made safer.

I wouldnt use that nursery if they didnt have a grid.

nurseryvoice · 27/06/2006 18:01

bit puzzled here? all ponds should be covered according to ofsted.
how many children died last year from drowning in nurseries?

TwinsetandPearls · 27/06/2006 18:06

It would worry me and I am not a real worrier and tend to be quite relaxed over dd and "dangers". IMO a nursery with an unguarded pond is not a good nursery as it such an obvious risk that could be easily sorted.

Medulla · 27/06/2006 18:10

Yes I would be very concerned. There is an American guy here goes to my church group and back in the USA a couple of weeks ago at a family party a 4 year old drowned in an occupied pool which was surrounded by adults and other children. He just fell in knocked his head on the bottom and nobody noticed - it's that easy!

colditz · 27/06/2006 18:11

I would totally disregard it, yes, and I am not a safety fiend.

charmkin · 27/06/2006 18:18


Kathy1972 · 27/06/2006 18:19

Ponds are dangerous, yes, but unless excellent nurseries are two a penny in your area I would probably not discount it just on that. However, if I then chose to send my child to the nursery I would get together with some of the other parents and try to convince the nursery to put a grille in place (hell, even offer to put wire netting over it myself if that would help).

CountessDracula · 27/06/2006 18:21

Absolutely it would worry me. It only takes a very short time to drown, and a very small amount of water.

I wouldn't send dd there unless it was gated, however marvellous everything else was

BadHair · 27/06/2006 18:22

Short answer, yes.

brimfull · 27/06/2006 18:23

I still can't believe that nurseries risk having a pond.It would worry me .

cutekids · 27/06/2006 18:29

i would worry about little girl lost her balance in a swimming pool that was surrounded by parents and children and - thank god! - we found her in time. she was floating on the top as she'd been unable to get back on her feet. doesn't matter how shallow it's still water and it's still dangerous.

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