Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): childminder services guidance

Published: 30 Jul 2020
Last updated: 30 Jul 2020 - see all updates

Non-statutory guidance to support childminding settings to operate safely.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): childminder services guidance
Other safety measures

Other safety measures

These are practical measures to minimise the risk of infection and transmission in childminding settings.

Enhanced cleaning procedures

Childminders should factor in arrangements across the day, including before and after children attend, for enhanced cleaning procedures. Surfaces, toilets, sinks and other frequently used surfaces should be cleaned regularly (at least twice daily). This should include equipment and/or areas used by the childminder and assistant. Particular attention should be paid to touchpoints such as door handles and banisters, and to hard surface areas, such as tables. These should be cleaned each day using disposable cloths and mop heads using standard household detergent and disinfectant that are active against viruses and bacteria. You must ensure that bins for tissues are emptied throughout the day.

Consideration should be given to this when arranging the attendance times for children. It is recommended that children only have access to toys and equipment that are easy to clean. Toys and equipment that children access should be cleaned when groups of children change – e.g. between sessions and at the end of the day or in the morning before the session begins - using standard detergent and disinfectant that are active against viruses and bacteria.

Resources such as water and playdough can be used as usual, with additional cleaning of equipment used. Water and playdough should be replaced on a daily/sessional basis. Childminders should limit the exchange of take home resources or items brought into the childminding setting.

If children need to bring school-bags or other personal items to the setting, arrangements should be made to manage storage of these items safely in cloakrooms or other area in order that they are not brought into and used within the childminding setting unless necessary.

Children will require comfortable areas to play, however any soft furnishings that are not required, such as throws, should be removed or washed after a single use. Where children sleep or nap in the home, children should have individual bedding,  stored in individual bags and this should be laundered frequently and as a minimum weekly.

Childminders should ensure that children have identified water bottles that are not shared. All crockery and equipment used in the provision of meals and snacks for children should be cleaned with general-purpose detergent and dried thoroughly before being stored for re-use. Assistants who do not live in the home should also use their own cup or cutlery and ensure these are cleaned after use. Surfaces in dining or snack areas should be wiped down and disinfected in between use by each group of children.

Managing coughs and sneezes

Children will cough and sneeze and it is not always possible to catch them in time to prevent droplet spread. Encourage children to use disposable tissues to cover the nose and mouth when sneezing, coughing, wiping, and blowing the nose. Dispose of all used tissues promptly into a waste bin. If they do not have any tissues available, encourage them to cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow. Wash or (where this is not possible, and the child is over 12 months old) use alcohol-based hand rub to clean hands at the first opportunity until you can wash your hands.  Bins should be emptied frequently. Undertake cleaning of any areas where there may be droplets as soon as practical using a household cleaning product.


Tooth brushing can continue where there are adequate facilities to do so. Settings operating toothbrushing should follow the Childsmile updated guidance.

When a child or adult in the setting becomes unwell

If a child exhibits symptoms consistent with COVID-19a ventilated space must be available for the child to wait in until they can be collected by their parent. Where space allows, you should prevent contact between any other children in the setting. Care must be taken however to ensure the appropriate levels of supervision of all children. Read the advice on what to do if someone is symptomatic.

Advice on cleaning of premises after a person who potentially has COVID-19 has left the school premises can be found in the Health Protection Scotland Guidance for Non-Healthcare Settings.  

All parents and carers, and where relevant assistants, should be advised that children who have symptoms, or who have household members who have symptoms, should not attend the setting, and should follow advice to self-isolate and book a test.

Where a childminder is symptomatic, or a household member has symptoms, they should close their setting and should follow advice to self-isolate and book a test.

Test and Protect

Childminders and any assistants must be aware of Test and Protect arrangements should someone display symptoms consistent with COVID-19. If the childminder or their assistant has symptoms, they must contact the NHS to arrange to be tested at 0800 028 2816 or You can find more information on the COVID-19 Test and Protect webpage.

Childminder settings may be considered complex settings and so cases should be prioritised and escalated to specialist local health protection teams for further investigation.

All parents should be asked to mention childcare arrangements if contacted by or contacting the Test and Protect service.

If a parent/carer or the childminder/assistant is contacted by a contact tracer and told to self-isolate for fourteen days, the person should self-isolate at home straight away – including closing the setting if necessary - and, if possible, wear a face covering on route to any other location and avoid public transport.

The Scottish Government has published advice for employers on how to support people who are asked to self-isolate, available here: 

Other children and adults will not be required to self-isolate unless also contacted by the contact tracing service. If a child or adult tests positive, the contact tracer will take into account the close contacts the person has had within the setting.

Settings should maintain an accurate register of absences of children and any assistants and whether these are due to suspected or confirmed COVID-19.  This will enable employers to maintain records on staffing capacity in individual settings and to make judgements about whether it will be necessary to close settings temporarily.

Outbreak Management

The management of outbreaks of infectious disease in settings is led by local health protection teams (HPTs) alongside partners, such as local authorities and the care inspectorate. Childminders should ensure that they know how to contact their local HPT.

If settings have two or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 within 14 days, or an increase in background rate of absence due to suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19, they may have an outbreak. In this situation, settings should make prompt contact with their local HPT and local authority. If an outbreak is then confirmed, settings should work with their local HPT to manage it. The HPT will make recommendations to the incident management team on self-isolation and on testing of children and staff and the arrangements for doing this.

If an outbreak is confirmed, childminders should work with their local HPT to manage it. Actions that childminders may need to be involved in include (but are not restricted to):

  • attendance at multi-agency incident management team meetings;
  • communications with children, parents/carers and staff;
  • providing records of attendance; and
  • implementing enhanced infection, prevention and control measures.

The HPT will make recommendations to the incident management team on self-isolation and on testing of children and staff and the arrangements for doing this. Any discussion of possible closures should take place between settings and local HPTs.

Settings should maintain appropriate records to support outbreak control measures, e.g. child and adult attendance, details of groups, visitors, and clinically vulnerable/extremely vulnerable children who are attending.

Childminders must notify the Care Inspectorate of any confirmed or suspected outbreak of an infectious disease via Care Inspectorate eForms.

Traveling to or from the childminding setting

Ensure parents or carers are aware of allocated pick-up and drop-off times to the childminding setting. 

Physical distancing between adults remains a fundamental protective measure that should apply at all times. Individual physical distancing applies to staff, parents (and any other adults who may attend the setting) and any external contractors or delivery people. It is essential that all these groups are taken into consideration.

Childminders must also ensure they follow the latest travel guidance  and only travel where it is permitted within the rules on staying at home. Where it is necessary to use public transport, for example to attend a planned health appointment, care must be taken to minimise risk, by travelling out with peak travel times, and ensuring hand washing immediately on arrival at the destination. Childminders must also ensure they follow the latest guidance on the use of face coverings, which is to wear them in specific circumstances, such as when on public transport.

Where childminders offer a pick-up service from a child’s home, childminders should operate physical distancing from any adults, use alcohol hand gel, and wash their hands thoroughly when they return home.

Taxis and private hire vehicles

Some children, including those with additional support needs or placed by local authorities, may rely on taxi transfers to get to their childminder. Local authorities will give careful consideration to how these children can be provided with safe, bespoke transport to their childminder. Taxis or private hire vehicles will be required to follow any relevant guidance.

First published: 30 Jul 2020 Last updated: 30 Jul 2020 -