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.

HS15 Travel by motor vehicle

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Health and Safety practices criterion 15

      If children travel in a motor vehicle while in the care of the service:

      • each child is restrained as required by Land Transport legislation; and
      • the written permission of the parent of the child is obtained before the travel begins.

      Documentation required:

      Evidence of parental permission for any travel by motor vehicle.

      In most cases, this requirement will be met by the excursion records required for criterion HS14.


      The criterion aims to uphold the safety of children while travelling in motor vehicles. Linking the restraint of children to licensing requirements allows Ministry of Education to put a regulatory intervention in place for non-compliance, as opposed to fines given by Police. Parental permission would most likely be gained from parents upon enrolment, as children in Home-based services are in vehicles much more regularly than children in Centre-based services.

  • 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.

      If there are not sufficient child restraints or cars/vans available for any excursion, then other transport options will need to be considered.

      Ensuring children are properly restrained according to traffic law while travelling in a car is a bare minimum requirement.

      Taxis and shuttles have different legislated requirements for child restraints. Children travelling in taxis should be restrained as if they were in a private car or van.

      If the service provides regular transport (outside of enrolled and licensed hours), accountability is agreed in writing between parents and the service.

      ECE services should employ “best practices” and have procedures in place that focus on health and safety, such as:

      • Who the adults will be – including any qualifications (teaching, first aid), if they have been police vetted/safety checked
      • Appropriate adult:child ratios
      • Supervision arrangements
      • Alternative arrangements if parents are not at home when children are to be dropped off
      • Sign-in procedures
      • Parental permission upon enrolment.

      Find out more information on Transporting children to and from ECE services and kōhanga reo.

  • Things to consider
    • Things to consider

      Other things you might like to consider when arranging travel in motor vehicles include:

      • Do all the vehicles have current registration and warrants of fitness?
      • Are you certain that all drivers have a current full New Zealand driver’s licence?
      • All private vehicles must have the appropriate safety restraints for adults and children in accordance with the NZ Transport Agency regulations. See this fact sheet for more details: Go to the NZTA website.
      • What would the educator do if the parent’s car seat is not compliant?

      More information is available from the NZ Transport Agency website(external link).