Bevan Hurley

Bevan Hurley is the Herald on Sunday chief reporter.

'Alarming' number of kids hurt

Injuries, impaling reported at daycare.

Amy Wang and Curtis Young were not told about little Jaden's fracture. Photo / Doug Sherring
Amy Wang and Curtis Young were not told about little Jaden's fracture. Photo / Doug Sherring

Early education centres report eighty-five injuries each year - including amputation, impalings and brain injuries.

Figures released under the Official Information Act reveal 426 "serious harm notifications" were reported over the past five years.

Five toddlers suffered "traumatic amputation", three were impaled by foreign objects and six suffered brain injuries. Nearly 60 toddlers sustained bone fractures each year.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said it received many notifications but not all were serious. Regulatory support and design general manager Tracy Mellor said there was a tendency to over-report accidents because of the protective nature of the sector.

However, Labour's early childhood education spokeswoman Sue Moroney said the numbers of children getting hurt was alarming.

"I think the Department of Labour should be concerned about the level of serious harm because it's preventable." About three-quarters of the injuries resulted from falls.

Tumbles from playground or sports equipment caused 119 injuries.

One early education centre has been prosecuted over a serious injury to a child. In 2008, a Kidicorp daycare centre was convicted of failing to inform the Department of Labour after Kory Lucas Downie-Boyte choked on a piece of apple at Te Awamutu's Kids To Five.

Meanwhile, an investigation into a toddler who suffered a skull fracture has found a "serious breach" of procedure. Jaden Young had a 6cm fracture after falling at the Unitec Early Learning Centre in Mt Albert in January. His parents were not informed until the next day.

UELC chairman Tony Carr said a bridge Jaden fell from had been removed. Caregiver Parbin Kaur was under disciplinary action but there was no evidence of negligence.

Parents and staff at the centre have rallied around the caregiver, with at least six writing to the Herald on Sunday in support of her work. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said it would not take action against the centre.

Grieving mum ready to forgive

Helen Peke says she is ready to forgive after finally receiving an apology from the marae where her son was killed.

Louis Schmidt-Peke, 3, died when a 100kg metal gate fell on him at the Hoani Waititi Marae kohanga reo in June 2007.

Peke said the belated remorse from marae management had helped her family grieve.
"My family's in a really good space now," she said.

" I don't cry like I used to."

She said legal action would not bring her son back and urged early education centres and caregivers involved in accidents to take responsibility.

A memorial for Louis will be unveiled at the marae.

- Herald on Sunday

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