Child (4) severely burnt and another with autism walks home in series of childcare breaches across Perth

Stock image.
Stock image.

A FOUR-year-old boy was severely burnt while making play dough and an autistic child walked home unnoticed in a string of enforcement actions for childcare centres across Perth.

Five notices of enforcement actions for Perth-based childcare centres were published online by the Department of Communities this month.

Among the more serious was an incident at Little Beginnings Education Forrestfield in January 2018 in which a four-year-old child was “severely burned” by hot water used to make play dough.

A staff member put a jug of hot water down in the middle of a table and when the table was bumped, it spilled over the boy.

The burns to the boy’s legs, genitals and buttocks immediately blistered and peeled.

The centre was hit with $23,000 in penalties and legal costs relating to the incident as well as some additional breaches.

Owner and approved provider Allan Mullett said the incident was regrettable and “tugged at the heart strings”.

“It wasn’t our best day,” he said.

Mr Mullett said the centre had put a number of new procedures in place since the incident, including stricter first aid procedures and training more regularly than was required by law.

Child with autism walks home

In February, a nine-year-old autistic child left unnoticed from Helping Hands Atwell, an outside school hours care service at Atwell Primary School.

The mother later informed the provider that the child had walked home.

Helping Hands Atwell was fined $12,000 for the breach and ordered to pay $1500 in legal costs.

The centre did not respond to a request for comment.

Child (6) left on bus

Nippers Vacation Care in Warnbro was forced to pay $10,000 in fines and costs after a six-year-old child was left on a bus that the before-school care provider was using to take children to their schools.

The boy was due to be taken to school just after 8am on March 8, 2018, but the staff member transporting the children did not stop at his school.

According to the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) ruling, the staff member dropped off a colleague near her home then drove the bus to his home, where he parked it before going inside.

At 11.30am, the educator went outside his house and saw the child standing in the open doorway of the bus. He was then driven to school by the educator.

A number of new procedures have been put in place since the incident, including more thorough headcounts and a walk-through of the bus.

A spokesman from the centre refused to comment on the incident.

Toddler (2) found in middle of road

Meadow Springs Early Learning Centre was forced to pay $10,500 in penalties and costs after a two-year-old left the centre unnoticed on April 18, 2018.

The child climbed the fence and was found in the middle of the road three houses away from the centre.

A member of the public who was driving past stopped their car and brought the child back to the centre.

Owner Vicki Kenward said she was “devastated” by the incident and had already planned to upgrade the fence when it happened.

“We’re all about kids and their wellbeing so when that happened, it just rocked our world,” she said.

The new fencing was installed the next day.

Ms Kenward said the child still attended the centre.

Toddler (2) walks out front door

In May, a two-year-old child walked out the front door of the home-based Nature Alliance Family Day Care Service in Baldivis and wandered the streets before being found by a member of the public.

Provider Tracy Bodin was forced to pay $3000 in penalties and $1500 in costs after the incident, in which the boy was captured on CCTV wandering around the front yard for eight minutes.

The toddler then walked up the street before being found by a member of the public 100m away.

The woman and her teenage son knocked on nearby doors before taking him to Rockingham police station.

The first Mrs Bodin heard of the incident was when the boy’s mother contacted her after seeing a ‘missing person’ post on Facebook.

Mrs Bodin has put in place a range of new measures and procedures since the incident, including an internal security gate and more thorough checks.

She did not return a call for comment.