Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Early learning centre sanctioned after child sustains first degree burns

WA’s State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) has sanctioned the approved provider of a Wanneroo early learning centre after a 23-month-old child sustained first and second degree burns to their feet.

“As we approach the hot summer months the potential of similar incidents occurring increases,” said Executive Director, Regulation and Quality, Department of Communities, Phil Payne.

“Education and Care providers must be aware of their responsibility to ensure they have robust processes in place and to ensure their staff have embedded the practice.”

Sparrow Group WA Pty Ltd (Sparrow) was ordered to pay $11,000 for failing to ensure that every reasonable precaution was taken to protect children being educated and cared from harm and from any hazard likely to cause injury, contrary to section 167(1) of the Education and Care Services National Law (WA) Act 2012.

Sparrow was also ordered to pay $1,000 for failing to take reasonable steps to ensure that staff follow the policies and procedures required under regulation 168 of the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2012 (National Regulations), contrary to regulation 170(1) of the National Regulations.

Additionally, Sparrow was ordered to pay a further $2,000 towards the Department of Communities’ legal costs.

A Department of Communities investigation found that in November 2022, a child suffered first and second degree burns to their feet after standing bare foot on a bike path that was exposed to the sun on a 28 degree day.  

At the time of the incident one educator was inside changing the nappies of children as they awoke from their nap, and another educator was in the outdoor play area with other children under the shade. The educator in the outdoor play area began preparing the children to be ‘sun safe ready’, however became distracted when two other children became involved in an altercation, and went to settle them. In this time, a child walked away onto the hot outdoor surface without shoes or socks on.

Educators were not aware that the child had sustained burns to their feet until later in the afternoon when the child was collected from the service.  

More information on the SAT order is available on the eCourts website.


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