On Wednesday 19th July, a preschooler from regional New South Wales was supposed to be dropped off at their childcare centre in the morning, but she was instead left alone on the bus for four hours before someone noticed her.
Unaware that his three-year-old passenger was locked inside, the private bus's driver stopped the vehicle on Forbes Street in Trundle, a town in the central west of New South Wales.
The girl was supposed to be dropped off at Trundle Children's Centre in the town centre around 8:30 am, according to 7 News.
Instead, she spent the next four hours stranded, alone, and distressed until midday, when a passerby noticed her sitting in the front seat of the bus.
The driver allegedly called her parents and unlocked the bus, according to authorities.
Paramedics attended to the young child on the scene before transporting her to Parkes Hospital for additional evaluation.
She was released the same day, shaken but in good health, according to NSW Health.
The childcare centre also released a statement about the incident.
"The Trundle Children's Centre can confirm a child enrolled at the service was left unattended on a local school bus for a number of hours on the morning of Wednesday the 19th of July 2023," the centre told 9news.com.au in a statement.
"The centre director, educators and committee are horrified this has occurred and have been in regular contact with the child's parents. We have been informed by the parents the child was distressed but is thankfully otherwise healthy and unharmed.
"We will be doing everything within our power to ensure an incident like this never occurs again."
Unfortunately, there have been many incidents where children have been left inside buses and in sweltering heat for hours outside their childcare service.
Children Left On Buses:
- On Friday the 10th Of March, a Victorian toddler was also left on a bus outside their centre for up to 5 hours - Victorian Toddler Left On Daycare Bus For Up To 5 Hours.
- 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 which 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 childcare 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.
ACECQA added new regulatory requirements on transporting children to and from the service which came into effect on 01 March 2023. It includes mandatory notifying the regulatory authority that your service provides or arranges regular transportation, the service to account for all children as they embark and disembark at the service premises and keeping a record of how each child was accounted for and more.
Three-year-old Hospitalised After She Was Forgotten For Hours On Daycare Bus, Kidspot Australia