Considering offering childcare at your next event? Here's the what you need to think about!

The key point of having childcare at a conference, exhibition or festival is to enable visitors to enjoy the event, focus on the conference or have child-free time to make purchases. An effective mobile childcare provision gives the visitor or delegate a positive association with the event and this only comes about if parents feel confident to trust the childcare providers with their children, and where children have so much fun they beg to return!

At Nipperbout we make childcare at events as enjoyable as possible for the children in our care, straightforward for the event organisers and a relaxing and comfortable experience for parents.

In our 32 years of doing so, there are several things we recommend every event organiser should have the answers to before running childcare at their event to save time and stress further down the line.

We give you our ultimate questions to consider!

1. Location – is there a suitable, well-situated and large enough space for the creche at the venue?

There are several parameters to think about here including:

  • Is the space large enough? A minimum area of 3.7 square metres per child will be needed.
  • Is there natural lighting? It’s not always possible but a little natural light goes a long way to creating a good environment for a creche.
  • Is it on a ground floor or with easy access to a lift? Not only for the installation of equipment but also for parents with buggies.
  • Are there any noise considerations to be aware of? Whether the noise from creche impacting on the exhibition or conference or vice versa.
  • Is it accessible for parents attending your event? Parents will feel most comfortable leaving their child if the creche is relatively close to where they will be spending the day.
  • Can proper security protocols be instigated within the set-up. Your creche company will need to run a strict sign-in procedure, does the location and access enable this? At Nipperbout we have developed our own security gate which can be adapted to fit most areas but not all suppliers have such equipment.

2. Facilities. Are the toilets suitable and close by?

It sounds like a no brainer but you’d be surprised how many times the toilets have been quite a walk away! Toilets need to be close to the crèche to enable little legs and small bladders to make it there quickly!

Safeguarding suggests it’s best to try and provide toilets for the sole use of children. If this isn’t possible, there should be at least one cubicle dedicated for ‘priority use by crèche children’ throughout the course of the event.

If babies are being cared for, nappy changing facilities (provided by the crèche) may need to be sited in the toilets and emptied once a day (unless the creche is larger than 50 places).

NB: Clinical waste needs a licensed company to transport it which some venues charge for.

3. Timings. Have you allowed for access and egress?

Much like an event, a good crèche will need at least 3 -4 hours to set up and will take a minimum of 2 hours to break down. If a crèche starts at 9am, it is best to book the room the night before to ensure everything is set up before the doors need to open. If the finish time is 5pm, consideration needs to be made for derig.

4. Protocols and procedures. Does your provider have the correct documentation and policies in place so that your duty of care is taken care of?

From initial GDPR compliant data capture, through DBS checks, RAMS, child protection policy, ongoing training and adherence to procedures, your childcare provider should adhere to strict measures that are communicated to you as the event organiser. All of the above should be produced upon request (it’s something we openly offer.) They should also be open to working together with your event, venue and security teams, in fact anyone who could come into contact with children or be involved in a lost child process. An experienced childcare provider will offer this service as standard.

5. Activities, toys and experience. What plans does your provider have for entertainment?

Do they offer a full timetable of activities and suggested entertainment together with opportunities for quiet or sensory play? A good creche will include a wide range of options suitable for every child in their care. The plans a provider has will go a long way to telling you how successful the creche will be to parents and children alike.

6. Insurance. You’ll want to see a copy of this!

Believe it or not, insurance is something that often gets overlooked when hiring a childcare provider! Whether you are working with an entertainer for the day, a chaperone or a full creche provider, they should be fully covered for the service. They should also provide all the relevant risk assessments and certifications for their service and equipment. When it comes to a ‘Lost Child’ service there is a specific insurance cover called ‘lost child services’. If they don’t have it, they, and therefore your event, may not be covered in the case of a claim.

7.Ofsted – has your provider notified Ofsted or the relevant local authority?

If you are providing a crèche, it is really important to understand what your obligations are under the registration body and to make sure that your chosen provider is appropriately registered. For example English law states that Ofsted must be informed in writing two weeks before an event starts and that a crèche should display an exemption letter from Ofsted as proof of compliance. It is best practice to do this regardless of exemptions from registration. Wales, Scotland and Ireland differ slightly and European countries each have their own restrictions. Your childcare provider will be able to advise you.


So that's it, our top event childcare tips. Any childcare provider worth their salt will help you with all of the above, it will be second nature to them and part of the process of providing a mobile crèche or Lost Child provision to any event.

Make sure you only work with a provider that does this as standard.


The Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA) is a trade body representing the very best contractors and suppliers of goods and services to the UK’s thriving events industry.

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