A third childcare service operator has been penalised by the State Administrative Tribunal after a child was burnt by hot ground surface.

Scholi Pty Ltd trading as North Fremantle School of Early Learning was brought before the State Administrative Tribunal by the Department of Communities, with the Tribunal finding that Scholi Pty Ltd had breached Section 167 (1) of the National Law for an offence involving failure to protect children from harm and hazard, imposing $10,000 in penalties and costs.

The breach relates to an incident on 3 February this year, when a two-year-old child sustained burns to her feet whilst playing in the service’s outdoor area.

A Department of Communities investigation found that a group of children had been taken outside for afternoon tea in the service’s undercover area at 2:20pm.

A small number of children left the undercover area and moved into an outdoor yard, before being escorted back by the service’s staff.

The burns may have been caused by the child stepping on either brick pavers or a metal grate that was or had been directly exposed to the sun.

The child was not wearing shoes at the time, and the burns required medical treatment.

The maximum temperature in Perth on the day of the incident was 38.4°C. 

Quotes from Samantha Palmer, Deputy Director General, Governance, Integrity and Reform

“This is the third time in recent weeks that the State Administrative Tribunal has penalised a childcare operator regarding children being burnt by hot surfaces or play equipment.

“Most childcare service operators seem to focus primarily on UV exposure in their service policies. In addition, they must also have clear procedures in place to ensure that play surfaces, play equipment and walkways are checked regularly on hot days.

“Adequate supervision, thorough risk assessments and staff communication are just as important in avoiding these kinds of incidents.

“As we’ve now seen in three cases, some materials used in outdoor matting and playground structures can get very hot very quickly, and can remain hot for some hours.

“The Department of Communities’ Education and Care Regulatory Unit conducts on-site compliance checks all year round, and hot play equipment and surfaces will be a focus during the summer months.”

Media contact: Steve Worner 0418 918 299

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