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Preventing and reporting accidents

As a childcare practitioner you are required to take steps to prevent accidents; and, when they do occur, respond quickly and appropriately to effectively manage the impact of them. Accidents when they happen can be distressing, but staying calm and being prepared will help you deal with them more effectively.

The recording of accidents and near misses is important on a number of levels - from potential insurance claims, to the safeguarding of children, to keeping the confidence of parents. Reporting all accidents and incidents also makes it easier to spot trends and prevent such accidents happening again.

An accident report book will help you prepare and be consistent in how you report accidents. It is strongly recommended that when you go on outings you take the accident record book, as well as the first aid box with you. It will allow you to record the information as soon as practicably possible after the accident whist all the details are fresh in your memory.


In the UK, certain types of accidents and incidents must be reported by law to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). These requirements are beyond the scope of this blog, but please see the HSE’s RIDDOR web site for the full criteria of accidents and incidents that require reporting, along with the Statutory Framework for the EYFS which sets out what childcare providers' duties are in respect to accident and injury (page 28).

Reporting accidents

Below is a step by step guide to completing an accident report. A more detailed guide to accident information gathering and investigation is available free from the HSE entitled “Investigating accidents and incidents“.

Step 1 Emergency response

  • Take prompt action (e.g. give necessary first aid)
  • Make the area safe
  • Inform parents and/or carers

Step 2 Record the Injured person’s details

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Reason for being at the location
  • Sex
  • Age or Date of Birth
  • Contact details of parents/carers

Step 3 Your contact details and information

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Position
  • Contact phone number
  • Email Address

Step 4 Accident details

  • The date of the accident
  • The time of the accident
  • The location of the accident e.g. which room, external or at Third party premises
  • Time and date parent/carer was informed
  • Information provided to parent/carer (e.g. what first aid treatment was given)
  • Signature obtained from the parent/carer that they had been notified

Step 5 Nature of the injury

  • The type of injury suffered e.g. fracture, laceration, bruising, burn
  • The part of the body injured
  • Was first aid administered
  • What was the first aid
  • Was the injured person unconscious or need resuscitation
  • Was an ambulance required
  • What time the emergency services / or GP contacted
  • What time the emergency services arrived at the scene
  • Was the injured person taken from the scene by ambulance to hospital

Step 6 Witness details, statements and other supporting evidence

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Contact phone number
  • Email Address
  • Address

If witnesses are available and can provide a written statement, record the statement along with the accident report as evidence.

Other examples of evidence…

  • Photographs
  • Risk assessments
  • Health and Safety Check Records
  • If at a third party premises copy of their accident record of the incident.

Step 7 Description of the accident

Record any details of the accident given to you or witnessed by you in your accident report including any dialogue between you and the injured person.

Example questions to ask yourself and information to record at this stage…

  • How did the injury occur?
  • What have you observed?
  • Was there anything unusual or different about the conditions at the time?
  • What activity was being carried out at time?
  • What equipment was being used at the time?
  • What were the events that led up to the accident?
  • Were any other people involved in the accident or incident?

Step 8 Cause of the accident

When recording information about how the accident occurred, only use objective facts that you have gathered e.g. leave assumptions or accusations out of the record.

Example questions to ask yourself and information to record at this stage…

  • Was it due to human error?
  • Did the injured person have a lapse in concentration or were they distracted?
  • Was the accident due to faulty equipment?
  • Was the injured person tired, upset or stressed?
  • Was the injured person being supervised at the time?
  • Did the injured person disobey instructions?
  • What preventive measures were in place at the time?

What happens next?

If you need to make a claim against your PACEY insurance for an accident that's happened, please download, complete and return the accident claim form as soon as possible. Following the tips above will help you capture all the information necessary. 

Review your procedures

Make looking back through your accident book part of your regular review and risk assessment process. This may help you to spot trends or identfify issues that you might otherwise overlook. Also ensure that you have adequate stock of accident recording forms and that your first aid training is up to date. Remember that PACEY members can get discounts on products in the PACEY shop, including accident reporting materials and first aid kits, as well as essential paediatric first aid training via Tigerlily. 


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