A Perth childcare centre has been fined after three toddlers sustained severe burns to their feet during a fire drill on a hot day last summer.
Several children, aged between 18 and 36 months, weren’t wearing shoes or socks when the drill took place at Nido Early School QV1 last December, as the temperature neared 36 degrees.
Two of the children required hospital treatment after the incident in the Perth CBD.
On Tuesday, Western Australia’s Department of Communities found that the temperature of the synthetic lawn and soft-fall rubber outdoor surface likely contributed to the burns.
The operator of the centre, Think Childcare Services Pty Ltd, was fined $15,000 and ordered to pay $2000 in costs after a State Administrative Tribunal hearing.
It was found that the operator had failed to protect the children from harm and hazard.
Department of Communities assistant director-general Brad Jolly said childcare centres and staff needed to remain particularly vigilant during hot weather.
“This is the second childcare service operator to be brought before the State Administrative Tribunal following a child being burnt by hot outdoor surfaces,” he said.
“Childcare service operators need to take this as a strong reminder that they must have clear procedures in place so that play surfaces, play equipment, and walkways are checked regularly on hot days to ensure children are not injured.
“Some materials used in outdoor matting and playground structures can get very hot, very quickly and can remain hot for some hours.”