What was meant to be a fun family day out has turned to heartache and despair after a three-year-old boy died while at a play centre in Spencer St Harristown, Toowoomba.
The little boy, who was at “Inflatable World” with his grandparents was found unresponsive around 1pm on Sunday after suffering head injuries at the play centre.
Witnesses told Seven News the boy was playing unsupervised at the time and was found unresponsive lying beside one of the inflatable objects.
It is believed he was with two siblings.
The 3-year-old was found with a head injury. Via Instagram.
According to The Sunshine Coast Daily police would like to speak to anyone who saw a boy wearing dark clothing at the centre and have asked for witnesses to come forward.
The boy is believed to have sustained a head injury and was cared for by members of the public who provided first aid until an ambulance arrived.
He was rushed to Toowoomba Hospital before being transferred to Brisbane's Lady Cilento Children's Hospital but sadly, staff could not revive him.
His devastated parents then had to make the decision to turn off his life support.
The boy is believed to have sustained a head injury. Via Facebook.
On social media patrons of Inflatable World have been accused of allowing older children to run “riot” through the younger children’s sections. One woman labelled it “an accident waiting to happen.”
“We were in the under 5s section with a 1 year old and 4 year old who were both playing nicely until a group of boys came running through knocking both my kids over on 3 different occasions. I went into the big kids area and grabbed a staff member and she dealt with it so well. She was great. But 10 minutes later another group of big kids came running through and again knocking the little kids over. Maybe putting a staff member in that section would come in handy. My 1 year old came home with a bruise on her leg and a fat lip, and I doubt she will want to go back in a hurry. I think that section is a huge accident waiting to happen.”
But others have praised the staff at Inflatable World for their responsiveness to incidences of children being bullied or left unattended.
“My family & I were there Saturday and found the staff and centre to be very accommodating, caring & were doing a super job helping children who needed help and were actively supervising their given areas. We felt the centre was a fun safe environment for all,” wrote one woman of Inflatable World Toowoomba.
It's not uncommon to hear of injuries at these types of centres. On social media there are many anecdotal reports of children sustaining injuries and broken limbs at similar centres.
“There needs to be rules and procedures and there needs to be supervision.” Image via Facebook.
Last year, Kidsafe Queensland called for better supervision at such play centres saying said the indoor type parks that had become very popular in recent years were a hotspot for injuries.
“There needs to be rules and procedures and there needs to be supervision,” Kidsafe Queensland CEO Susan Teerds told The Courier Mail.
But this particular type of centre, Inflatable World, has been under scrutiny before.
Last year a father posted a video on Facebook of his four-year-old at an Inflatable World franchise in Auckland.
He said he posted the video as a warning to other parents after his son was “sucked under” the matting of a bouncy castle.
Brendon Rambaul, from Wellsford, New Zealand wrote:
“We (my wife and I) are posting this video of our son at inflatable world in glenfield. We were there in the weekend with friends and he literally was sucked under and into the matting of the bouncy castle! If I wasnt [sic] there watching him knowone [sic] would have known he was in there. We hate to think what could have happened. A friend’s little boy along with 2 other children were also sucked in too. The staff who were ment [sic] to be observing and assisting couldn’t care less and continued talking to one another. We complained AND showed them this video and they continued to use it! How is this ok? ... Apparently the safety of our children is not important!? Parents PLEASE watch your children and keep them safe!!! Please share this to other families so we can keep our children safe!!!!"
Management in New Zealand since said this particular issue was fixed.
Inflatable World Toowoomba have issued a statement. Via Facebook.
After this week’s tragic death Inflatable World Toowoomba issued a statement offering their condolences to the boy's family.
"We are devastated by the news that a child has passed away in hospital after collapsing at our venue on Sunday afternoon," the company said.
"A full investigation involving all relevant authorities is underway, we have also undertaken our own internal investigation, are working with authorities and have passed on our findings. Inflatable World takes the health and safety of our patrons, staff and others very seriously while they are on our site and have taken extensive measures to ensure we have the highest standards for workplace safety."