Malaysian health officials move to keep nurseries safe

SEREMBAN - Health officials will visit nurseries regularly to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their charges.

The health teams will inspect the premises to ascertain whether they are clean and safe, and the personnel are fit to take care of babies and toddlers.

This is according to the Health Ministry guidelines issued on Tuesday in the wake of several incidents at these establishments, including babies choking on milk.

The ministry said: "The nation has in recent times been shocked by the number of deaths reported at these nurseries from milk-choking and other incidents which could be due to the negligence of the operators or the employees.

"These incidents can also be attributed to the lack of training given to the personnel, insufficient safety measures at the premises and lack of monitoring.

"It is important for health officials to visit nurseries to ensure the operators adhere to all rules for the wellbeing of the children since they are susceptible to such ailments as hand, foot and mouth disease as well as injuries."

The operators would be given a report on the findings of the officials within a month of their visit with recommendations for improvements if needed, the ministry said.

"It is hoped that the operators will take the recommendations seriously to prevent the recurrence of accidents or deaths or the spread of any virus at their premises," it added.

The ministry said the inspection of the nurseries was also in line with requirements under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to which Malaysia is a signatory.

The guidelines define nurseries as establishments which look after children below the age of four for a fee, and can be found in residential areas, at work places and in the community in general.

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