Licensing criteria for centre-based ECE services
Section 15 of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link) defines an early childhood education and care centre as premises used regularly for the education or care of 3 or more children (not being children of the persons providing the education or care, or children enrolled at a school being provided with education or care before or after school) under the age of 6—
- by the day or part of a day; but
- not for any continuous period of more than 7 days.
Centre-based ECE services have a variety of different operating structures, philosophies and affiliations, and are known by many different names – for example, Playcentres, early learning centres, Montessori, childcare centres, Kindergartens, crèches, preschools, a’oga amata, Rudolf Steiner etc.
These centres are licensed in accordance with the Education and Training Act 2020 under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008(external link), which prescribe minimum standards that each licensed service must meet. Licensing criteria are used to assess how the centres meet the minimum standards required by the regulations.
For each criterion there is guidance to help centres meet the required standards.
The publication of the criteria on its own can be downloaded as a PDF [PDF, 2.1 MB] and printed.
The licensing criteria were last updated in April 2021.
HS28 Medicine administration
Health and safety practices criterion 28
Medicine (prescription and non-prescription) is not given to a child unless it is given:
- by a doctor or ambulance personnel in an emergency; or
- by the parent of the child; or
- with the written authority (appropriate to the category of medicine) of a parent.
Medicines are stored safely and appropriately, and are disposed of, or sent home with a parent (if supplied in relation to a specific child) after the specified time.
1. A record of the written authority from parents for the administration of medicine in accordance with the requirement for the category of medicine outlined in Appendix 3.
2. A record of all medicine (prescription and non-prescription) given to children attending the service. Records include:
- name of the child;
- name and amount of medicine given;
- date and time medicine was administered and by whom; and
- evidence of parental acknowledgement. Related to clause 46 (1)(b) of standard.
The criterion aims to uphold the health and safety of children by ensuring that children are given proper care, and that medication is not administered inappropriately by services.
Amended May 2015
Any examples in the guidance are provided as a starting point to show how services can meet (or exceed) the requirement. Services may choose to use other approaches better suited to their needs as long as they comply with the criteria.
Medicines must be stored out of the reach of children, but still be easily accessed by an adult if needed in an emergency. Some medicines may require refrigerated storage.
Services must take note of the expiration dates of any Category 1 medicines, and ensure that they are not administering medicines that have passed their use-by date. Service supplied (Category 1) medicines that have expired must be disposed of appropriately – check with a pharmacist about the best way to do this. Parent-supplied medicines should be sent home for disposal.
The different categories of medicines have different parent authorisation requirements, as set out Appendix 3.For categories (i) and (iii), parent authorisation must be given at enrolment of the child at the service. Category (ii) medicines require daily parental authorisation. For category (i) medicines, services must be specific about what products they will use (including brand names).
When administering medicine check that the right dose (use a standard measuring syringe or spoon) of the right medicine is given to the right child (double-check the details on the label each time) at the right time (follow any instructions provided by parents or medical staff about this).
Every service must keep a record of all medicine (prescription and non-prescription) given to children when attending the centre, regardless of whether it is administered by a staff member or by the child’s parent.
The record of medicine administered to children should be kept for 2 years.
Keeping a record of medicine administration demonstrates that the service has fulfilled its duty of care; that the child needing medicine has been given the right dose of the right medicine at the right time.
It is a useful record for both parents and medics in the event of a child experiencing an adverse reaction or sudden-onset illness.
The recording of category (i) medicines administered in relation to injuries as required by criterion HS25 will meet this requirement for those medicines.
Authorisation and Acknowledgement:
The written authority for categories (i) and (iii) medicines is on the enrolment form so must be kept for 7 years. For category (ii) medicines, the written authority should be kept for as long as the child is receiving that medicine.
Parental acknowledgement of the medicine having been given to their child must also be recorded. Category (i) and (ii) medicines require daily parental acknowledgement, whereas parental acknowledgement may be obtained and recorded weekly or every three months for category (iii) medicines whose dosage does not change.
- Things to consider
Things to consider
Centres must ensure that during cooking activities children are closely supervised if they are to have access to the fridge and if possible any medicines are stored out of the reach of children.