My particular concern is that nannies are frequently required to transport children as part of their role: to and from school, to play activities, to appointments etc.
As an agency, we have strict requirements about nannies driving, and the agency must be notified if transport of children is required before commencement of care.
It is the client's responsibility to ensure that the nanny has a driver's licence and that any car used has the necessary child restraints fitted, and is in a condition suitable for the transport of children. If the nanny has any doubts about these areas, we recommend that they raise their concerns with the client families, and if this does not make any difference, with the agency, and that they should not drive until the issues are resolved.
In Victoria, the law requires all adults, driver, front and back seat passengers to use a seat belt. As at February, 2012, all children must be properly restrained according to the following requirements:
- Children under 6 months to be in a properly fastened and adjusted rear facing approved restraint , generally a reclined baby car seat;
- Children 6 months to under 4 years to be in a properly fastened rear OR front facing approved restraint with inbuilt harness;
- Children aged 4 years to under 7 years to be in a properly fastened and adjusted forward facing approved child restraint with in built harness OR or a properly fastened and adjusted lap-sash belt or child safety harness;
- Children aged 7 to under 16 years to be in an approved booster seat with a properly adjusted lap-sash belt or child safety harness OR a properly fastened and adjuted seatbelt. An adult lap-sash belt is designed for a minimum height of 145cm., a height most children reach between 10 and 12 years.
- If a car has 2 or more rows of seats, children under 4 must not travel in the front seat;
- If all rear seats are used by children under 7, children aged 4 years and under 7 may travel in the front seat, provided they use an approved booster seat.
- Any child too heay or too tall for the restraint recommended for their age should use a restraint in the next age category.
All this information, and advice on approved restraints and the location of fitting stations is available from Vicroads and in brochures available from the Victorian Government bookshop.
Beyond these formal requirements, we expect that nannies use good safety procedures. These include:
- Always put children in and out of the car by the kerbside door;
- Put the older child(ren) in the car, then transfer the baby from its pram/stroller, then put shopping etc in the car;
- When leaving the car, get out and assemble the pram/stroller then get the baby out, followed by the older child(ren);
- Do not allow the older child(ren) to open the door or to leave the car until you are at the exit door; this is easily avoided if you use the childproof door locks provided by most manufacturers;
- Have the windows closed with lock on, or if necessary in hot weather, only have the windows open for 4-5 cms at the top;
- Insist on quiet behaviour in the car, and if there is any squabbling etc, stop the car until the behaviour stops. On long drives, use distractions like familiar songs and stories on CD/DVD or if necessary videos, but preferably looking out the window spotting things, playing I Spy. The purpose of all this is to reduce distractions for the driver;
- NEVER leave children unattended in a car.