QLD_CP_NEWS_ONLINE_CHILDDEATH_19FEB20
QLD_CP_NEWS_ONLINE_CHILDDEATH_19FEB20

Cairns minibus death an industry ‘wake-up call’

AN early childhood education leader says the tragic death of a three-year-old on a minibus in Cairns is a major wake-up call for the sector.

The Early Childhood Teachers' Association is hoping to develop better checks and balances for childcare centres, in the aftermath of the death of the Mt Sheridan boy, who died alone after allegedly being left on a minibus at Edmonton last Tuesday.

The association's Queensland president, Kim Walters, said the incident had sent shockwaves through the sector.

Kim Walters, President of Early Childhood and teachers assoc. Picture: Megan Slade
Kim Walters, President of Early Childhood and teachers assoc. Picture: Megan Slade

She is planning on attending a stakeholder meeting with other sector representatives next week, where they would discuss the incident and come up with possible safeguards.

"There are thousands of buses picking up children and taking them to schools and daycare, and returning them daily - thousands across Australia," she said.

"So it's a huge wake-up call for these people to let them know there are procedures in place, and they must follow them to the letter because this should just should not have happened. "Goodstart have an excellent reputation, so it's a huge shock and a huge tragedy."

The Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority regularly assesses children's health and safety at early learning centres.

Members of the public have laid flowers and left teddies at the Goodstart Early Learning Centre, Edmonton, following the tragic death of a boy, 3, left in a minibus. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Members of the public have laid flowers and left teddies at the Goodstart Early Learning Centre, Edmonton, following the tragic death of a boy, 3, left in a minibus. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

Ms Walters said there were already procedures and policies in place across centres, such as roll calls, to ensure children were accounted for.

"People make mistakes, but when you are dealing with children - and especially young children - you really have to be so vigilant," she said.

"They can fall asleep, they can slide down on chairs, out of sight.

"Lots of things can happen, which is why they have procedures in place to check for these things."


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