Picture this: You go to pick your baby up from childcare and the place is quiet. Eerily quiet. The door are locked. The shutters are down. The centre has shut for the day.
But you haven’t picked up your baby son. He is still inside but the staff have left for the day and there is nobody there to get you to your child.
It’s an impossible scenario isn’t it?
One you couldn’t dream of happening here in Australia, but that’s is exactly what has happened in a NSW childcare centre just two days ago.
The father of the baby arrived to pick up his son from a Blue Mountain’s childcare centre on Monday and was surprised to find the centre closed.
Seven News reports that he was forced to call police when he couldn’t get in to the Little Smarts Daycare Centre knowing that his one-year-old was locked inside and the weather was sweltering.
Officers attended the scene and had to force their way into the building to reach the baby boy.
Luckily the baby was safe, found unharmed in an air-conditioned room.
Paramedics arrived at the scene and the boy was given the all clear.
Little Smarts Daycare Centre told Seven News in a statement the incident stemmed from a miscommunication and the child was unattended for only 20 minutes.
If this awful incident seems familiar it is because the very same thing happened recently in a US childcare centre in the city of Chicago. CCTV of that baby locked in that center unattended showed a small infant crawling around a dark room.
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While we know that on the whole Australian childcare centers are of a high standard hearing of things like this is frightening for parents.
Nesha O’Neill from Australian Childcare Alliance NSW told Seven News that Australia has very strong regulations in place that are designed to prevent this happening but “there is always going to be human error."
“Given the amount of children in care” she said, “It's very, very rare."
Luckily this had a happy ending, but it’s hard for your mind not to go to an alternative scenario.
The boy’s parents told Seven News they are still “very happy with the childcare centre and continue to use it."
“The most important thing is our baby boy is safe," she said.
Their generosity and goodwill towards the centre is admirable, but it does raise questions about our child care system and leave many, many parents around Australia on edge hoping that such an incident never happens to them.
How would you react if this happened to your family?