Licensing criteria for hospital-based ECE services

Section 10 of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link) defines hospital-based education and care service as the provision of education or care to 3 or more children under the age of 6 who are receiving hospital care.

ECE services operating from hospital premises that provide education and care to siblings of patients or children of hospital staff or patients are centre-based ECE services, not hospital-based ECE services.

Hospital-based 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, 1.2 MB] and printed.

The licensing criteria were last updated in September 2022.

HS9 Securing furniture

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Health and safety practices criterion 9

      Heavy furniture, fixtures, and equipment in any ECE Activity Room that could fall or topple and cause serious injury or damage are secured.


      The criterion aims to uphold the safety of children.

  • 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.

      In all areas of the ECE Activity Room, large and heavy items of furniture, equipment and appliances must be secured to the structure of the building. Smaller appliances such as stereos or microwave ovens can be secured with industrial velcro.

      Lighter things such as books and blocks can also cause injury if they fall on children. These can be held on shelves by wire or a short chain connected to the shelf with a metal eye or hook.

      Lockable castors should be used to prevent trolleys or shelving on wheels from moving around. Think about weight distribution on free standing shelves.

  • Things to consider
    • Things to consider

      When securing these items, the following guidelines will be useful:

      • Always fasten to the structure of the building. Studs are fine, but wallboards may be too weak.
      • Make sure that the fastenings you use are strong enough to hold the weight of the heavy object. What will happen if it gets bounced up/down?
      • Where possible, try to fasten objects near the top rather than at the bottom. This can’t be done, the fastenings at the bottom need to be very strong, because of the leverage effect when something topples (a fridge for example).

      Connections that are easy to unclip and re-clip allow furniture to be moved when needed. Consider placing fastening points at several places around the walls.

      A short chain on the furniture connected to a metal eye on the wall, by means of a carabena, D-bolt, or similar, can be a good system. This means furniture can be changed around; while still having secure fastening for heavy objects.