Licensing criteria for home-based ECE services

The Education Act 1989 S309 defines home-based ECE services as the provision of education or care, for gain or reward, to fewer than 5 children under the age of 6 (in addition to any child enrolled at school who is the child of the person who provides education or care) in:

  1. their own homes
  2. the home of the person providing education or care
  3. any other home nominated by the parents of the children.

These services are licensed in accordance with the Education Act 1989 under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008, which prescribe minimum standards that each licensed service must meet. Licensing criteria are used to assess how the services meet the minimum standards required by the regulations.

For each criterion there is guidance to help services meet the required standards.

The publication of the criteria on its own can be downloaded as a PDF [PDF, 541 KB] and printed.

The licensing criteria were last updated in November 2016.

Licensing Criteria Cover

PF20 Design of sleep provisions

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Premises and Facilities criterion 20

      Furniture and items intended for children to sleep on (such as cots, beds, stretchers, or mattresses) are of a size that allows children using them to lie flat, and are of a design to ensure their safety.


      To ensure that sleeping provisions are safe and appropriate for children using them.


  • Guidance
    • Guidance

      Any examples in the guidance are provided as a starting point to show how services can meet (or exceed) the requirement. Services may choose to use other approaches better suited to their needs as long as they comply with the criteria.

      Furniture and items intended for children to sleep on (such as cots, beds, stretchers, or mattresses) must be large enough to allow all children, especially infants under one, to lie flat on their backs.

      Where cots are used, these should be sturdy, easily washable and allow good airflow. For example, wooden, well-painted cots are easy to wipe clean and allow air flow. Check that any paint used is not lead based. All cots need to meet the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 2172:2013 (Cots for household use).

      Mattresses need to fit firmly inside the cot to avoid gaps that a young infant could get wedged in.

      Home-based services may use a portable cot if it:

      The use of slings or backpacks does not meet this criterion as children cannot lie flat.

      The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment both state that bunk beds are not suitable for children under 9 years of age.

      The Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 4220:2010 (Bunk Beds and Other Elevated Beds) states that bunk beds and elevated beds (any bed where the upper surface of the mattress is 700mm above floor height) are dangerous and are not recommended for children under the age of 9, and that falls from elevated beds can be fatal.

      Therefore bunk beds and elevated beds cannot be used in early learning services in New Zealand.

  • Things to consider
    • Things to consider

      Some home-based services like to have prams or buggies available for excursions, or to settle children when necessary. Prams and buggies are primarily designed to transport children when adults need to walk some distance. Although children often do sleep ‘in transit’ in a pram or buggy, this is not the primary purpose of the equipment. A buggy is therefore not the best place for a child to sleep if there is no need to transport them anywhere.