"We don't let children sit on grass, anymore." I heard this from a scout leader. Her reasoning was around the risk from E.coli bacteria infection. If the children are in a soggy field surrounded by cow pats, I can understand her concerns. But good hand hygiene will mitigate this risk.
"We sterilise leaves before we let the children play with them." The staff in this nursery did admit that this spoiled the leaves. They kept crumbling. Again, good hand hygiene practice will ensure this measure is not necessary.
"Children must wear cycle helmets when using trikes in our nursery. We have helmets that the children use." Many road safety officers worry about this particular measure. It is important for children to understand the reasons for wearing cycle helmets. However, helmets have to be properly fitted. Otherwise they are of limited value and send the wrong message to children. So if every child has their own helmet, clearly labelled and properly fitted, it's fine. If this isn't the situation, settings may as well not bother!" Ouch!
"Drawstring bags are not allowed. There's a risk that children could be strangled."
Yes this is a risk. It might happen. In my experience, most children have more sense. A wee talk about appropriate use of a bag can help along with supervision and sensible behaviour expectations in a class.
"Health and Safety Bans Bunting" This was the HSE Myth of the Month last August. The Health and Safety Executive are not "Bunting Busters". This organisation likes seeing people celebrate in style!
"You have to be Forest School trained to take school children into a wood." Er, no! Forest School training is a specific pedagogical approach. Lilly Horseman has a lovely article about the benefits of undertaking this training in her Kindling blog. You should, out of respect, avoid calling woodland visits "Forest School" unless you are a trained Forest School leader using the approach in a series of carefully planned visits.
One interesting fact that I have discovered whilst interviewing staff who take children to their local woods for learning and play, is that accidents happen less often in the woods than back in the playground. One Primary 6 child summed it up nicely, "If you trip on tarmac, you scrape your knees and it really hurts. If you fall over a branch the woods, you land on leaves."