Serious incident sees 11-month-old sustain burns from unattended mop bucket

Serious incident sees 11-month-old sustain burns from unattended mop bucket

by Freya Lucas

January 04, 2022

An approved provider in Western Australia has been penalised $32,500 and $1,500 costs in relation to an incident in which an infant sustained serious burns after falling into a bucket filled with hot water that was being used to clean floors. 

 

The provider was found to have breached Sections 165(1) and 167(1) of the National Law for an offence involving inadequate supervision of children and the failure to protect children from any hazards likely to cause injury.

 

A Department of Communities investigation in relation to the incident found that on 4 June 2021,a bucket filled with hot water that was being used to clean floors was left unattended on the floor of the childcare service.

 

A male child aged 11 months crawled over to the bucket and used the bucket to stand up and lost his balance, resulting in the child’s right arm – from his wrist to his shoulder – coming into contact with the hot water.

 

The child was taken to Katanning Hospital where he was treated under guidance from a burns specialist at Perth Children’s Hospital (PCH) before being moved to PCH where he stayed for four days in isolation.

 

He was treated for second-degree burns to his right arm. He continues to require ongoing assessment and treatment to his injury. The investigation found that the bucket had been filled from three full kettles of boiled water to clean the floors in the main room.

 

Following this incident, the Department of Communities suspended the approved provider’s service approval. The service remained suspended until the Department of Communities was satisfied that it was safe for children to return one week later.

 

“The dangers of the use of hot water where children are present are obvious, and the Department of Communities can and will suspend services from operating if it finds that children have been put at serious risk,” said Catherine Stoddart, Deputy Director General – Governance, Intelligence and Reform, Department of Communities. 

 

“Providers must ensure that staff who are working directly with children are actively supervising them at all times and are not completing other duties such as cleaning.”

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