Sesame Lane Care and Kindergarten has installed an alarm system on its entire fleet of buses to ensure the safety of children in its care.
Head of Sesame Lane Kerri Smith says all 10 buses used to take children on excursions and collect them from school for after-school care have been fitted with the technology at a cost of about $30,000.
“We are vigilant about transporting children. It’s a high priority item that has had some media attention and we’ve put strategies around it to manage the risk and protect the children in our care,” Ms Smith says.
“We have relooked at all of our policies and procedures and implemented mandatory staff induction and training, but the most important thing we’ve done is we’ve fitted our buses with technology to ensure that there’s a reminder check on the buses.”
An alarm will sound unless a staff member walks to the back of the bus and turns it off. Positioning it at the back of the bus ensures the person checks the bus for sleeping children as they walk through the bus to turn off the alarm and again as they exit.
Ms Smith says Sesame Lane investigated many options and different types of technology before deciding on the alarm system.
“Staff have two minutes from turning off the ignition to go around the bus, go inside the bus and walk to the back of the bus and hit a button that turns off the alarm,” she explains.
“If they don’t do that visual check, horns and alarms start to go off. We’ve gone through a little bit of technology and quite a few companies now to find what we feel is the best fit.
“It’s really important, something that’s very close to home and it’s helping our staff too. It’s helping them as a forced reminder because things happen when you’re taking eight children off a bus and another child kicks their toe or something happens … you can get diverted away from doing that visual check. This takes it out of their hands.”
Ms Smith says staff have welcomed the move, which was combined with processes and training to ensure children are safe. Two staff members are now allocated, when transporting children.
Sesame Lane has 10 buses, which are used for school collections for after-school care and excursions.
Ms Smith says being able to take children off-site for excursions is important, as is giving parents peace of mind.
“Taking children out on excursions is an important part of our program, there are so many fun and educational things to do in our area,” she says.
“Safety is our number one priority, and we know that putting this into place will really make a difference.”
For more information about Sesame Lane Care and Kindergarten, visit sesamelane.com.au
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