Children and Young People

Date: 09.02.2017     Last updated: 19.09.2019 at 15.14
Guideline to safe working with children (meaning anyone under the age of 18) who, due to their age, will likely have little experience of workplaces or a developed understanding of risk or danger.

This Guideline is specific to child safety. For information about child protection you must consult the BBC Child Protection Policy and where necessary seek advice from your Child Protection Advisor (See Recommended Links (Gateway)).

Further Guidance on child safety can be found in our Schools and Nurseries Guideline (See Related Topics).

What Can Go Wrong?

  • Being in an unfamiliar environment, the child will be less able to recognise danger
  • They may become lost or be injured if unaccompanied
  • Their inquisitiveness may lead them to take risks
  • Young teenagers may exhibit anti-social behaviour
  • They may get tired or anxious, due to stress, pressure or period of working
  • Issues connected with Child Protection
  • They may be the subject of unwanted social media attention – cyber bullying, internet grooming, bullying by peers and uncontrolled circulation of images or personal data
  • They may not understand technical terminology or jargon
  • Younger children do not have the ability to differentiate reality and pretend and may become upset by the programme content
  • Filming without a child performers license.

Legal/BBC Requirements

  • The Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014
  • BBC Child Protection Policy
  • Editorial Guidelines: Children and Young People as Contributors
  • In general, the presence of children on productions and in our workpalce can place additional legal duties of care on us.

Control Measures

Pre-Planning Requirements when Working with Children

  • Before working with children, consent forms will be obtained from the parent/guardian/school.
  • For content that could be perceived as distressing to a child, please inform and work with the parent/guardian in advance
  • Ensure that the child is supervised at all times by their parent, guardian or licensed chaperone.
  • Give a safety induction on arrival to the child/young person and their parent/guardian/chaperone.
  • Send copies of the risk assessment specific to the child/young person’s activities to the parent/guardian/school (our Child Protection Model Risk Assessment in Useful Documents may be helpful).
  • If your activity involves anyone under the age of 18, they must be accompanied by a responsible adult (this includes events and shows where the audience is under the age of 18). Any exceptions to this policy must be referred to and agreed with your BBC Child Protection Adviser or the Head of Child Protection in advance - contact details are available on our 'Working with Children' page (see Recommended Links). You must include activities involving any person under the age of 18 years old on your risk assessment, consulting the relevant editorial guidelines.
  • Ensure that the child is not over exerted. Any physical activity is kept to a minimum, and is appropriate to their age and physical condition. Ensure that a child fitness to participate form has been completed (See Useful Documents)
  • Give clear jargon free instruction, and use age appropriate words and language around them
  • Be mindful of asking a child to do something on the spot – and them wanting to impress the Director or person in authority
  • Ensure that the location is as child-friendly as possible. Be vigilant around cables, lights, equipment or anything that has the potential to cause danger to a child.
  • Ensure their welfare has been considered when working outside in hot and cold weather.
  • All staff on site must be made aware of who is responsible for the child's safety and security and where /who to escalate any concerns.

General controls for planning or attending an event where children are present

  • Consider the presence of children in the event risk assessment, event safety plan, and major incident and contingency plans.
  • The presence of pushchairs may need to be considered in evacuation plans.
  • Ensure relevant on-site services, such as stewards, first aid, medical and welfare, are aware of the provisions for children, their location, operating times, etc.
  • If a child is hurt or injured and requires treatment by a First Aider, they should always try to ensure someone is present whilst treatment is being administered.

Activities for Children within an event

  • Ensure dedicated play/activity areas for children are arranged and managed by people with relevant expertise and experience.
  • Ensure areas are well defined and appropriately fenced with specific signage of areas of potential danger. Pictorial signage may be more effective for children.
  • Ensure there is no access to open water, e.g. ponds, for young children.
  • Make provision for shade and shelter at open-air sites.
  • All activities and the provision of food and drink should be appropriate to the age of the children involved.
  • No smoking within children’s areas.
  • Ensure handrails are at appropriate heights on stairs/steps.
  • Children need to be closely supervised when using equipment at all times. Supervision should be constant for activities that could be potentially hazardous, e.g. woodwork or candle making. Materials should be clean, non-toxic and non-allergenic. Particular care should be taken to check junk materials for cleanliness, suitability and any sharp items, e.g. staples, before use.
  • Consider the requirements of children with special needs and disabilities, and develop an inclusion policy. Where events can provide activities for children with specific needs, ensure there is suitable equipment and that the children can be fully engaged in the activity. Appropriate accessibility must be in place – both in regards to entry/exit into the event and also within the event.

Lost/Missing and Found Children

  • Prepare a ‘lost and found child’ policy that identifies arrangements for the safe care of lost children until they are reunited with their parent/guardian. Ensure that all volunteer staff are fully briefed.
  • There should be a clearly advertised collection point for lost/missing children, supervised at all times with fully briefed workers. Ensure that any children are not left in the sole care of a single worker.
  • If there is a children’s area on site, this may be the most appropriate place for the care of lost children. In some circumstances, it may be necessary to make an announcement over the PA system. Ensure that public messages do not refer to children specifically or give personal details, descriptions or name.

Division Specific Issues

All Divisions

  • The BBC has a network of Child Protection Advisors who are responsible for helping to resolve child protection issues within their Division (see Recommended Links (Gateway) for contact details).
  • If you are at all concerned that a child's safety or wellbeing is at risk, you should notify your local adviser, who will take the matter forward as appropriate. You can also contact your nominated adviser with any general questions you have about working with children.

FAQs/Did You Know?

  • Event organisers can attend the BBC’s safeguarding children course (half day) and become familiar with the BBC’s Child Protection Policy.
  • When holding a baby in the arms, the strong studio lights in the ceiling will be shining directly into the child’s eyes so sitting the baby up at an angle will help.
  • Finding out what occupies the child at home (such as a favourite toy or DVD) and duplicating it, is a helpful way of acclimatising the child to the recording environment.
  • If the noise on set is kept to a very low level when the child is brought onto set, they will find it less stressful.
  • For any person carrying a baby/escorting a child, if the workplace has a low level of light, ensure house lights are provided so that they can see their way and any potential hazards present
  • Prepare to be flexible when working with children - they can have irrational fears and phobias which may pop up at any time and mustn't be ignored.

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