Boy rode to his death in baby car seat, clearly visible
OFFICIALS are baffled how a three-year-old boy believed to be strapped into a baby car seat was left to die on a daycare bus in Cairns.
In a heartfelt public apology, Goodstart Early Learning boss Julia Davison yesterday pleaded: "We are sorry.''
"We have the deepest regret this has happened,'' Ms Davison said, in an exclusive interview with The Courier-Mail.
"But we don't know how it happened.
"We're sure the police investigation will find out.
"We will do whatever is within our power to make sure this never happens to another child in our care."
She made the emotional plea as security was posted at the company's day care centre in Cairns because of death threats against "devastated" staff.
The three-year-old was found dead six hours after he was picked up from home in the parked bus outside Hambledon State School at 3.15pm on Tuesday.
It has emerged he would've been strapped into a baby car seat, and clearly visible, as other children were delivered to the company's Edmonton daycare centre that morning.
"We expect he would have been strapped into a car seat when he was picked up, that's our process,'' Ms Davison said.
"We don't know what happened, we know we got a set of policies and procedures that are very clear about what our educators on the bus should do.
"Clearly something happened which very sadly resulted in the death of this child, and our condolences, absolutely, go to the family involved.
"We cannot imagine how they are feeling.''
The driver was a regular staff member, who had been employed in a variety of roles, and was familiar with the checklist procedures.
Goodstart Early Learning Cairns posted the security outside its doors after it is understood the centre received a death threat by telephone.
"Given the current circumstances and increased media interest the decision was made to engage our contractors in Cairns," a spokeswoman for Goodstart said.
"Goodstart has security contractors across the country available for all centres.
"Childcare centres are often a target for vandalism given the fact they are always closed from 6pm till morning.
"We regularly engage our security contractors for a variety of reasons."
The Sheridan Street centre operates independently from the Edmonton Goodstart daycare.
A Queensland police spokeswoman said no reports of alleged death threats to the Cairns centre had been yet been filed.
The Edmonton centre had been closed after the death of a boy, 3, whose body was found in a minibus operated by the child carebranch on Tuesday.
Flowers and teddy bears have been laid outside the centre in tribute to the deceased child and in support of his grieving family.
"Rest in peace, beautiful little boy," one note read.
Detective Inspector Jason Smith said officers would be approaching witnesses, even children who may have been aboard the bus on Tuesday, when the child died.
"When we can identify other witnesses we'll be speaking with them," Det Insp Smith said.
He said the police investigation would focus on the van's movements between 9.30am - when the boy was picked up from his Edmontonaddress, to 3.15pm - when his body was discovered by the driver.