On 30 September 2021, 28 children attended a Perth museum on three 12 seater buses. An initial head was done when children arrived back at the service with only 27 children being accounted for. The educator assumed the child went home. At around 3:45 pm (2 hours later) the child was found locked inside one of the buses parked behind the service.
Service provider Kids Active Pty Ltd, trading as Kids Active Southern River, was ordered to pay $26,000 and $1,000 costs by the SAT for contravention of section 165(1) of the Education and Care Services National Law (Western Australia) following an incident in September of last year.
The children arrived back at the centre between 1:20 and 1:30 and a headcount was conducted and found only 27 children present, but no action was taken.
Two hours later at 3:35 pm, another headcount was done and realised the child was missing. A search of the service couldn't locate the child and when the mother arrived the child still couldn't be located.
One of the Educators checked the bus in the carpark and found the child inside. He was visibly upset, red-faced, hot and sweaty.
An Educator who had been on the bus transporting the child said that it is standard practice on excursions that one educator gets the children off the bus and the other educator gets the trolley and equipment out of the boot.
One educator said that she asked the other educator to walk through the bus while the first educator unloaded equipment from the boot and assumed the other educator had heard her. The other educator said that the first educator didn't ask her and that she had not been told by anyone that the bus needed to be checked.
The Services responsible person at the time of the excursion went on her lunch break after all the children had returned from the excursion but before the roll call required Onboard and Disembarking procedure was conducted. She told another educator that the educator was now the responsible person. The second Educator conducted a headcount but not a roll call and did not use the Xplor app to identify all children who were present. She counted 27 when there should be 28 but considered that a child might have gone home while she was still on the bus.
The service had an Onboarding and Disembarking procedure.
5. When arriving at the venue an educator must open the bus door for the children and do a roll call as they come out of the bus. Once all the children are out of the bus, the educator must get inside the bus and do a check to ensure that no children are left on the bus.
6. Once at the venue a roll must be done altogether using the Xplor add.
The above steps must be followed again when travelling back to the centre.
After the incident occurred the service promptly reported the incident to the Department and fully cooperated with the investigation and accepted fault on their behalf.
The service conducted its own internal investigators immediately after the incident and the staff involved were given formal warnings. A new procedure for checking buses has been conducted.
Judgement was made on 25th May 2022.
To read the full summary: Incident Of Child Locked In Bus
Education and Care Regulatory Unit, Department Of Western Australia