Licensing criteria for home-based ECE services

Section 10 of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link) defines home-based ECE services as the provision of education or care, for gain or reward, to children who are under the age of 5 years, or who are aged 5 years but not enrolled at school, in:

  • the children’s own home; or
  • the home of the person providing the education or care; or
  • any other home nominated by a parent of the children.

These services 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 services meet the minimum standards required by the regulations.

For each criterion there is guidance to help services meet the required standards.

The publication of the criteria on its own can be downloaded as a PDF [PDF, 1.3 MB] and printed.

The licensing criteria were last updated in September 2022.

HS20 Bottle Feeding

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Health and Safety practices criterion 20

      Infants under the age of 6 months and other children unable to drink independently are held semi-upright when being fed. Any infant milk food given to a child under the age of 12 months is of a type approved by the child's parent.


      The criterion aims to uphold the safety and wellbeing of children by ensuring they are not 'propped' and left unattended with a bottle. The criterion also ensures a basic level of nurturing behaviour towards infants.The second part of the criterion aims to uphold the health and wellbeing of children by ensuring that breastfed infants are not given infant formula without the knowledge and consent of parents and avoids children being given a type of infant formula that is known by the parent to cause an allergic reaction.

  • Guidance
    • Guidance

      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.

      Infants or other children with special needs who may not be able to drink independently should not be "propped up" and left unattended as they can move around or slide over which may lead to choking.

      Parents and educators need to decide who provides any infant formula and bottles. If the educator provides the formula, parental approval of the brand/type is required before it is used. If the usual brand/type is unavailable, parental approval of any substitute is also required prior to its use.

      It is good practice for the educator is consultation with the family needs to have a procedure for hygienic preparation of bottles including:

      • Sterilisation of bottles
      • Hand washing
      • Timing of preparation - as close as possible to feeding time
      • Following instructions for the formula (as different brands use different size scoops and volumes of water)

      If storage of made up formula brought by parents is necessary, that it should only be kept in the refrigerator for a maximum of four hours past the time it is made up.

      The Ministry of Health's health education resource - Feeding your baby infant formula(external link) contains useful information on using formula.