Toddler Uriah Vollmer left alone and locked inside Penrith's Nepean Pre-School
The Daily Telegraph
November 24, 2008 01:28am
- Toddler left locked in childcare centre
- Staff had gone home early
- Angry parents demand review
AN 18-month-old toddler has been left abandoned inside a locked childcare centre in Sydney's west - the second such case in just months.
Uriah Vollmer, son of Daily Telegraph reporter Tim Vollmer, was left sleeping in a cot inside Penrith's Nepean Pre-School when staff went home early.
His mother Michelle arrived 10 minutes before closing time to find the centre already locked and empty - apart from baby Uriah.
It was only when a centre staff member drove by and spotted a distraught Mrs Vollmer that Uriah was discovered asleep inside.
The two incidents have prompted calls for a State Government review of centre lock-up procedures.
"(This) is proof that a serious overhaul of the procedures is urgently needed," Mrs Vollmer said.
The first case, in May, resulted in the baby being left alone for more than an hour before police broke in.
Mrs Vollmers' concerns have been backed by the body that represents childcare centres around the country.
Childcare Associations Australia conceded yesterday that it was timely for the State Government to re-examine centre training programs in the wake of two incidents in just six months.
"The fact that it has happened twice might mean there needs to be a training program and a review of lock-up procedures," executive director Helen Kenneally said.
"It does astound me people have these things happen."
A spokeswoman for Community Services Minister Linda Burney said yesterday a total review of the regulations was under way but changes, if any, would not come into effect until 2010.
The current regulation states that two primary contact staff must inspect the premises to ensure no children are left behind.
Mrs Vollmer said the delay was "completely unacceptable and it is putting the safety of kids at risk".
She also criticised the fact she was still yet to be contacted by DOCS investigators despite making a complaint on Friday.
Ms Burney's spokeswoman said investigators had already interviewed staff at the centre and checked its records and would move on to the family.