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Childminder given smoking ban

A registered childminder has been criticised by care chiefs for putting the health of children at risk - by smoking in her home.

Hazel Park was told to stop smoking cigarettes indoors to protect the children she cared for in her house.

But the childminder continued to light up in the kitchen where children eat their meals and she has now been reprimanded by a Government watchdog.

Mrs Park blamed the bad weather and said it had been too wet for her to smoke outside when Care Inspectorate staff turned up at her home.

Inspectors noticed a smell of smoke when they arrived at her house in Aberdeen in March and discovered an ashtray and cigarettes lying on the kitchen table.

A parent of one of the children for whom she cared informed care watchdog staff their child's bag had smelled of smoke.

A Care Inspectorate report said: "We noted there was a smell of tobacco smoke on entering the childminder's home. This was particularly evident in the kitchen area, where an ashtray and cigarettes were on the kitchen table.

"The childminder confirmed young children often had their meals in this area. As a result, children were not protected from the harmful effects of being exposed to tobacco smoke.

"The childminder advised she intended to continue to smoke in the kitchen area."

The inspection team found Mrs Park did not carry out any risk assessments to make sure her home and garden was safe.

A bottle of weedkiller was stored under the kitchen table and an extension lead ran from the worktop along the back door and back on to the table.

Animal food and a water bowl were also in reach of children in the hallway.

Toys in the garden were also extremely dirty, with some filled with large amounts of stagnant water, spreading the risk of infection.

Cord hanging down from the rotary dryer put the safety of children she cared for at risk.

The report added: "The childminder had not undertaken any risk assessments. Risk assessments would support the childminder to identify potential hazards and put appropriate control measures in place."

The childminder had previously been told to book in for First Aid training but said she had found it difficult to access a course.

She also advised she did not think it was necessary for her to update child protection training she completed in 2009.

Enforcement action was taken against the childminder by the Care Inspectorate. She was told to improve her service and make sure her home was safer.

Mrs Park declined to comment on the report, but said she had been inspected again and was waiting for the results.

A spokesman for the Care Inspectorate said: "Our most recent inspection of this service highlighted concerns about the safety and well-being of children.

"We have made clear the areas that must be improved immediately to keep children safe and ensure the quality of care they receive is of a standard we expect.

"Our first priority is always the safety and well-being of children. We will be monitoring this service closely and if we do not see evidence of significant improvement we will not hesitate to take further action.

"Every child in Scotland has the right to safe, compassionate care that meets their needs and respects their rights."

Anyone with concerns about a child minder or a care service provider can contact the Care Inspectorate on 0845 6009527.

Contextual targeting label: 
Families

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