Dr Sarah Alexander
1 Sept 2010
The mother of a young girl nearly strangled after being caught in a rope attached to a slide at a Wellington free kindergarten is questioning why this ever happened, according to a report in the Dominion Post (28 August 2010).
A teacher performed CPR and the girl was taken to hospital by ambulance. As a result of the incident the girl had swelling around her trachea and trauma around her throat.
Imagine what the teachers would have felt and thought during and after this incident.
Imagine what thoughts must have flashed through the minds of other parents about the safety of their own child and their trust in the kindergarten.
Children who witnessed the accident are very likely to take this horrifying memory with them as one of their early memories of life as a pre-schooler.
Imagine the impact this has had on the girl emotionally.
This incident serves to remind us about the importance of both supervision and common sense.
It could be argued that it's not common sense to attach a rope to a slide. In an early childhood service it is absolutely not acceptable. A rope should not be attached to a slide and the same goes for having any toys with cords or other apparatus on a slide that a child come become entwined in.
However, we don't have the full details of what actually happened. If a teacher were right beside the slide, available to provide one-to-one supervision and support and actively assisting then could the risk be well-managed? It may, but ECE is a group setting and it only takes a moment of distraction for things to go seriously wrong.
The incident is a reminder to review what training and support on safe practices and supervision is given to staff and how often.