Childcare staff to be trained to deal with choking – Naughten

In Families by Denis Naughten

Current law only requires one staff member to be trained in children’s first aid

Denis Naughten TD has welcomed the comments by Children’s Minister, James Reilly TD, that staff in the childcare sector should have appropriate paediatric training to deal with an emergency.
“At present – both in Ireland and in the UK – the law only requires that one person on the premises be trained in paediatric first aid: a fact that will shock many parents and grandparents of young children alike,” explained Denis Naughten.

“While there are many people employed in this area who are undoubtedly trained specifically in first aid for children the fact remains that any crèche etc is only required by law to have one person on the premises with such training. Minister Reilly now supports my view that this situation needs to be addressed.”

Responding to a Dáil question Minister Reilly stated: “I am very anxious that all people working directly with children in the early year’s sector have an appropriate Paediatric First Aid qualification.”

Minister Reilly also pointed out that there is presently no accredited award in Paediatric First Aid at any level in this country, an anomaly that he is anxious to have addressed.

“The comments by Minister Reilly are very positive and it is now clear that he and his officials are actively looking to address the current anomaly,” added Denis Naughten. “The Department of Children & Youth Affairs is presently drafting new childcare regulations to give effect to legislation to strengthen the current inspection regime and underpin the Early Years Quality Agenda. I have urged him to ensure that the new rules require all staff working directly with young children to be trained in paediatric first aid and be competent to deal with emergencies such as choking and CPR.

“Last December I took the unusual step of opening up my constituency offices to host these courses, firstly to encourage all parents to have a basic understanding of paediatric first aid and, secondly, to promote the need to change the law in this area to ensure that everybody working with or caring for young children has paediatric first aid. I was amazed by the demand for places and in fact I could have filled each place three times.”

The training was provided Millie’s Trust, a charity dedicated to providing first aid training for families, and the charity’s founders Joanne and Dan Thompson gave the training for both parents and politicians in Dail Eireann. Joanne and Dan’s daughter Millie passed away in October 2012 aged just nine months following a choking incident that occurred while she was in the care of a nursery in the UK.

They have joined Denis Naughten in campaigning for a change to the law governing first aid in childcare facilities and also met with Minister for Children, Dr James Reilly, to highlight the need for new regulations in this area.

To find out more about Millie’s Trust log on to or parents can also access information on what to do if your baby starts to choke by logging on to


EDITOR’S NOTE: Dáil reply attached

CONTACT: Denis Naughten TD 086 1708800


DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Dr. James Reilly)
by Deputy Denis Naughten
for ORAL ANSWER on 24/02/2015

To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if the new childcare regulations will revise the standards with regard to paediatric first aid; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Denis Naughten

Pre-school services are subject to the Child Care (Pre-School Services) (No.2) Regulations 2006, as provided for under Part VII of the Child Care Act, 1991.

The Deputy may be aware that my Department is progressing the Early Years Quality Agenda which introduces a number of key of reforms that provide for the further development of the childcare sector. To underpin these reforms, it was necessary to amend the Child Care Act, 1991 and these legislative changes were enacted through the Child and Family Agency Act, 2013.

To provide for the implementation of the changes, it is necessary to carry out a root and branch re-examination of the existing regulations including a restructuring of the regulations and guidance content in line with the latest drafting practices. This has proved more time consuming than originally envisaged. Officials in my Department are working closely with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel to develop a comprehensive draft of the new regulations, which will include a requirement that early years services have a person trained in paediatric first aid available at all times.

I am very anxious that all people working directly with children in the early years sector have an appropriate Paediatric First Aid qualification. However, there is no accredited award in Paediatric First Aid at any level on the National Framework of Qualifications. There is an accredited award in Occupational First Aid and it is a stipulation that the training can only be provided by organisations or individuals on the Register of Occupational First Aid Training Providers. This register is maintained on behalf of the Health and Safety Authority by the Occupational First Aid Assessment Agent.

The delivery of Paediatric First Aid courses could be regulated by developing a Special Purpose Award through Quality and Qualifications Ireland and my Department has already sent such an award proposal to them. However, the same standards that apply to the delivery of the Occupational First Aid award should also apply to Paediatric First Aid courses. At the moment, there are a lot of companies delivering 1 day courses in Paediatric First Aid and offering their own certificate of accreditation. I would like to see an external quality assurance process in place to ensure that these companies have the skills and competences to deliver a nationally accredited course.

My Department has been in touch with the relevant agencies seeking to progress the development of a Special Purpose Award in Paediatric First Aid and the external quality assurance of the delivery of such an award. I have asked my officials to keep me informed of developments in this matter.