Daycare accidents sending more than 1000 kids to hospital a year

Injuries and accidents at day care centres sent more than 1000 Australian kids to hospital in just one year, government figures have reportedly revealed.

The Daily Telegraph reports 1076 children below the age of five landed in the hands of medicos in 2014-15, with 1077 of New South Wales’ 2837 long day care centres copping notices for breaching regulations over the same period.

The paper cited confidential hospital numbers and a Productivity Commission report on government services.

It said breaches ranged from a failure to conduct criminal background checks on workers, neglecting to install smoke detectors, and failing to meet safety standards.

The revelation follows reports suggesting families could soon be paying more than $200 per day for day care.

Analysis released earlier this year predicted a price rise of about 20 per cent over the next four years.

Seven News reported in January some parents could be paying more than $200 a day for childcare within the next four years, according to new analysis predicting fees will rise by 20 per cent.

Source: 7 News

News article reflection

“Day-care accidents sending more than 1000 kids to hospital a year”.

It’s a heading that definitely made me stop and read, as I thought that seems like a lot of injuries. However, as I read a feeling of worry came to mind.

Firstly, let’s focus on the injury statistics published. “1076 children were reported as landing in the hands of medicos”. However, the article does not discuss the injuries that were obtained, or the activities that were happening that caused the injuries. Why is this important? Because majority of services have written in their accident and emergency policy that an ambulance will be called as a precaution for possible head injuries, possible fractures and airway blockages. All very serious incidents for young children and all absolutely necessary reasons to call for an ambulance. These precautions are great because we are educators, not medical professionals, so sending a child to get checked after banging their head on a tree branch helps us feel reassured that the child is okay, even though the doctor may just send them straight home to rest. It would be interesting to see how many of these injuries turned out to be serious and how many were just needing a checkup as a precaution.

Now, what was happening during the time of these incidents? As I read this article, I felt an underlying tone suggesting that educators and services failed to keep these children safe and provide adequate supervision. There may have been a few cases where adequate supervision was not met, however majority of injuries are pure and simple accidents that could not be avoided.

In all my years of working with young children, the only broken bone I witnessed was a child who missed a step while walking to morning tea. Yes, an ambulance was called, however supervision was not lacking.

This is why I feel worried. I am worried that articles like this will deter educators from providing environments that encourage risk-taking and provide real life opportunities that support children’s play. We don’t want any child to get hurt, but in a world full of people who wrap children in cotton wool, we need people who are willing to provide opportunities for children to safely explore the real world, by taking risks and making mistakes. Don’t let these statistics deter you from providing a stimulating and challenging educational environment.

Are you providing adequate risks in your educational service? Contact First Years Early Childhood Consulting for more information on achieving the highest possible rating for your service.