A three years old girl who had been found unconscious on a bus, on Wednesday 4th May, parked outside an early childhood service, in Gracemere, near Rockhampton, in Queensland is now breathing on her own.
3-year-old Nevaeh had been picked up from a Gracemere home in the morning of Wednesday 4th May and was sitting in the second row of the bus with her bag when she was left behind. It was parked in front of the centre, next to the front entrance.
Nevaeh was the only child left on the bus and two staff had been working on the vehicle before the incident. When they returned to the centre, the driver and one other person who were in the bus at the time had forgotten that she was there. Staff found her on the bus. She was taken into the centre where they were performing CPR and triple [zero] was called.
Detective Inspector Shadlow believed the bus was owned by the centre and both adults that were on there worked for the centre.
The toddler remains in intensive care in a stable condition at the Queensland Children's Hospital after she was revived on the floor of her childcare centre.
Investigating police say the child was left unattended for six hours in hot temperatures on the bus, where outside temperatures reached a maximum temperature of 29.2 degrees on Wednesday (when the incident occurred). Police will continue to investigate whether staff had breached procedures.
This is not the first time an incident like this has taken place.
- In Feb 2020 a 3-year-old boy died due to heatstroke while being left on a bus. Educator, Dionne Batrice Grills, 36, was found not guilty of manslaughter in the Supreme Court who was in charge of the safety of the child. The driver who is incidentally the former centre director pleaded guilty.
- In March , 2020 kindergarten child was left on the bus while going to OSHC. The 5-year-old fell asleep on a Tassielink bus bound for a Northern Children's Network after-school care service at Newstead. Educators and the bus driver failed to search the bus to ensure all children got off and the five-year girl ended up 40 kilometres from home on a bus with strangers, the child's mother says.
- In March 2020, a Perth child care provider was fined $15,000 after a five-year-old girl was left alone in a locked bus for up to 15 minutes.
- In February 2019, a toddler was forgotten inside an empty 12 - seater bus in Yass NSW on a 29-degree day. The bus driver only realised this when he returned to the bus late in the afternoon. He was fined $4,500.
- In 2018, on the Gold Coast, a 15-month-old baby was also left on the bus only to be discovered by an Educator who had walked by the bus and heard cries. The Gold Coast mother claimed her daughter had spent more than an hour alone on a childcare bus, also Goodstart, on a 32-degree day, and she now suffers from emotional and social anxiety as a result.
From 01 October 2020, The Education Council has agreed to new requirements under the Education and Care Services National Regulations (National Regulations) for providers of education and care services that offer, or arrange, transportation of children as part of the education and care service.
These new requirements for safe transportation of children relate to policy and procedures; risk assessments; and written authorisations.
It absolutely devasting that these incidents continue to occur even though regulations have been updated, and risk assessments and policies have been put in place. However, no amount of documentation can account for human error when Educators/bus drivers fail to check the bus once they have transported children.
Family Of Toddler Nevaeh Austin Found Unconscious On Queensland Childcare Centre Bus Demand Answers, ABC Australia
Toddler In Critical Condition, The Guardian Australia
Safe Transportation Of Children, ACECQA