Child care centres are not the place, like; say roads, where accidental deaths could be expected as a norm.
The tragic death of a four-year-old child at a Takapuna childcare centre following an accident on playground equipment has raised several unanswered questions in the minds of parents who leave their children in good faith at the day care centres.
Although any child death is shocking, an incident involving a childcare centre generates substantial questions that need answers, sooner than later.
Often the questions that cross human mind at such instances defy logic and reason, yet they should be seen as unavoidable emotional needs that cannot be brushed aside behind institutional barricades.
To some extent, it may be fair to expect concerned authorities refraining from making any comments in haste, but it is not completely unreasonable to demand an assurance from ‘someone’ that our childcare system has adequate measures in place to prevent any such future incidents.
The police is still investigating the matter and have declined to comment any further than what they have earlier said at the scene on November 18 when the incident occurred.
Inspector Cornell Kluessien had then said, "Playground equipment looks like standard playground equipment, but it's one of these accidental things that a perfect set of circumstances have sort of caused this tragedy."
WorkSafe New Zealand has been advised and is making “enquiries”. However, their media office was “unable to provide any further information as an investigation is underway”.
Angels’ Childcare, the centre where the tragic incident happened and who has expectedly avoided any media query, posted on its website that "we are working closely with the authorities to support them in their investigation of the accident. We will also be making contact over the weekend with all of the families of our children here at Angels to provide them with further information”.
The fact of matter is that it is not just the parents of children at the Angels’ Childcare Centre who have questions that need immediate answers. Parents far and wide in New Zealand have genuine concerns about what happened on that ill-fated day, especially after the news in media that the incident possibly involved “slide and a rope”.
Were the children unsupervised at the time of the incident?
What kind of “rope” was involved in the incident?
Was there a surveillance camera installed at the outside playing area in the centre?
Joseph Devasia, president of the Malayali Samajam Incorporated group, and the family spokesperson, who has been at the helm of affairs for the last few days right till sending the body back to India on Wednesday, November 23, had received several messages from parents from places such as Christchurch, Invercargill, and Wellington, who want to form an association to seek answers collectively from the authorities.
Sharing the concerns of a parent and a community member from Christchurch with Indian Weekender. Mr Devasia said that an accountant in Christchurch had expressed that he and his family were left heartbroken after the incident. “We have seen the little boy’s photos and [are] really heartbroken. We also have a son of the same age. I hope [to talk] to someone there [who] can bring a bit of relief to us.”
It is high time that people are told about what happened on that dreadful Friday when a child in somebody’s custody other than their parents met an accident at a seemingly innocuous place as a playground and could not survive.
It is in everyone’s best interest, especially young working parents who depend on the services provided by childcare centres, to be reassured about the integrity of the entire system.