Tips &

Tips &

Event Professionals – Do You Know Your… legal requirement from your best practice?

March 2024
Janthea Brigden
More articles on event childcare

As an event organiser, are you prioritising the safety of your youngest attendees? Are you looking after the children at your events?

Are your event and security team informed and prepared?

Is your organisation legally compliant?

There is a difference between legal requirements and best practices when it comes to children at events. Do you know yours?

Navigating Legal Responsibilities

As EventProfs we know all about best practices, we live and breathe them daily when it comes to health and safety, accessibility and such like at events. But do we know enough about the law and what we are legally responsible for at our outdoor event, festival, exhibition or conference when it comes to children at events?

At Nipperbout dealing with the type of situation I’m about to describe has become second nature to our team, but for those of you who work in events and do not have a childcare specialist on site, understanding both the nuances of best practice and your legal obligations is imperative.

Common sense dictates that it’s best practice not to hand a found child over to an adult who is clearly under the influence of alcohol or drugs…

… but are you aware that it is illegal to do so if a child is under the age of 7 years?  

Event Organiser Responsibility and Legal Consequences

If you are a parent now is probably the time that you will start shifting uncomfortably in your seat because most of us have been a little over the edge of sobriety when in charge of our children at some point or another!

As an event organiser though, it is absolutely illegal to allow a parent to take charge of a child whilst inebriated.  This means that if a found child has been brought into the care of your organisation whether via a steward, security guard or member of the public, then it is your duty to ensure you keep the child safe from harm and that means not returning them to the care of the parent.

Not an easy thing to do, especially if you have not been trained in your responsibilities and how to best handle such a situation.

Equally, if you or anyone in your team, spot a parent who is clearly intoxicated or on drugs, then it is down to you to make sure the child comes to no harm whilst at your event.

In both cases, you have a duty of care to the child and it is your responsibility to deal with the situation.

So what SHOULD you do?

Proactive Measures – a tip or two

If the inebriated adult has a sober friend with them who can look after them and the child then you can, with the parent’s written permission, hand the child over to the ‘responsible adult’ with a duty to take care of the child, until such time as the parent is able to do so.

You need written permission complete with signature because it’s also illegal to hand a child under the age of 6 years to anyone at all who is not their parent or legal guardian. This is the very law that ensures infant schools make you fill in loads of forms about who can collect your child and why Granny or a friend turning up to collect a child won’t work without prior written consent!

If there is no sober friend then you will need to keep the child in your care until they can be the responsible adult themselves. Practical measures such as providing a safe space, occupying the child and even offering a little respite to the adult can make a significant difference in keeping the situation calm.

In Case of Escalation

If the situation escalates and you unfortunately need to call the police use phrases such as; “I am concerned for a child’s safety” or “ I have reason to believe a child may be in danger”.  The police have a duty to respond to these and you will have both fulfilled your duty of care and kept the child safe.

It’s Not as Scary As it Sounds!

Understanding and navigating the complexities of children at events is a fundamental aspect of organising them.

That’s why we have poured over 30 years of knowledge into our children at events training courses. Designed to equip EventProfs with the knowledge, experience and practical tips to handle any situation involving children, they prioritise safety and legal compliance to ensure events are memorable for all the right reasons.