Esperance Outside School Hours Care fined after child locked in bus

A childcare provider on WA’s South Coast has been fined $12,000 for an incident in which a four-year-old child was left on a bus.

WA’s Department of Communities found an Esperance girl was picked up from a primary school and left locked in the bus after it arrived at Esperance Outside School Hours Care on July 28 last year.

The department said the child was found shortly afterwards by chance and not as a result of the service’s procedures.

The child was on the bus alone for 4-5 minutes.

The department said it had initiated disciplinary action on 12 occasions in WA where children had been left on buses since 2016. 

Department of Communities executive director regulation and quality Phil Payne said it was a concerning case.

“It is unacceptable that despite notifications and warnings of the hazards of leaving children in care on vehicles unattended it is still occurring,” Mr Payne said. 

It comes after a Queensland toddler was in a critical condition after being left on a childcare centre bus for six hours in May. 

Mr Payne said adhering to guidelines, such as having two educators present when children were disembarking vehicles, would help prevent further incidents. 

“As we have seen in other states, a child being left unsupervised in a vehicle, even for a short period of time, can have tragic consequences,” he said.

Esperance Outside School Hours Care has been contacted for comment.

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