Crèche staff lost my DD!

(54 Posts)
PookBob Sat 28-Sep-13 09:11:35

My DS3 and DD1 attended a crèche run by our local children's centre yesterday, while I was on a course.

At the end of the course I went into the crèche room to pick them up. DS was sat playing but I couldn't see DD anywhere. One of the ladies noticed me looking round and asked another member of staff where my DD was. She replied that DD was with third member of staff. I said she wasn't as I had just seen the third member of staff washing pots in the kitchen.

So the first two staff and I started looking for DD, she was found outside, on her own on the wooden play equipment. No one had known where she was, or had even noticed her absence. The three members of staff had only been caring for 7 children.

My DD was fine, I picked her up and gave her a cuddle, got my DS and went home.

But now it's all I can think about. I don't know how long she was outside on her own, definitely 5 mins minimum. A lot could have happened in 5 mins, it didn't though I know.

The play area she was found in is right next to the road. Whilst the centre is gated, the gates are not locked as it is a drop in centre.

WWYD? Should this be recorded as a 'near miss' type event? Should I take it further, or just be glad my DD is safe? I really can't stop thinking about DD on her own.

ILoveMakeUp Sat 28-Sep-13 09:16:54

Oh my goodness. I would absolutely definitely take this further.

SirChenjin Sat 28-Sep-13 09:19:40

I didn't want to see this drop off the board. That sounds awful shock. I've no experience of using creches as the DCs went to nursery while I was at work, but I'm presuming they are (or should be) run along similar lines with professional staff and procedures in place to stop this sort of thing happening?

If so, yes, I would absolutely take this further. Formal letter of complaint to the manager? Is there a complaints procedure in place?

sewingandcakes Sat 28-Sep-13 09:22:28

I would take it further: while it's lucky that your dd was fine, the staff need to improve their training and procedures to prevent anything serious happening.

NoComet Sat 28-Sep-13 09:26:45

Depends on age of the other DCs you might not follow a four yearold about like you would a two year old.

If it was DD1, I'd have looked outside first, giving adults the slip if there was anything climbable was 100% predictable. Short of keeping her on reins, there was nothing anyone could do be 100% certain she wouldn't be up to mischief.

PookBob Sat 28-Sep-13 09:29:21

Sorry, just to clarify, my DD is only 1yr old

DizzyPurple Sat 28-Sep-13 09:31:11

Sounds like inadequate supervision to me. She could have hurt herself easily and they wouldn't have noticed immediately. If they have an outdoor bit, someone should be allocated to watch that area or the door should be shut to keep the kids in. 7 kids to 3 carers? No excuses.
I would definitely speak to the manager. Your dd was fine, the next one might not be.

ReallyTired Sat 28-Sep-13 09:32:03

I think a formal complaint is inorder. The first step is to write to the manager of the children's centre and if you get no joy then make a formal complaint to OFSTED.

"Depends on age of the other DCs you might not follow a four yearold about like you would a two year old."

A four year old needs supervision as much as a two year old. Admitally you are allowed lower ratios for four year olds as they are generally potty trained, but the capacity of a four year old to get into danger is still pretty high.

Someone should have been watching your dd.

Tee2072 Sat 28-Sep-13 09:32:58

Take it further! Contact the manager and insist on knowing what they are doing to make sure that never happens again.

PookBob Sat 28-Sep-13 09:53:15

Thank you all.

I need to use this crèche for a further four sessions, so I want to deal with this situation maturely. I am normally that person who just bursts into tears and can't get their words out.

At the start of the course the course leader was explaining how all the staff were safeguarding trained, and that our children would be in the best hands. I feel really let down by them as they didn't even apologise as I left.

NoComet Sat 28-Sep-13 10:32:49

If she's that small, the supervision is totally unsatisfactory.

DD could get on our dinning table before she could walk, or have any idea crawling off the edge was a bad idea.

No way should a child that sizes be outside in their own!

PookBob Sat 28-Sep-13 11:24:53

Whilst making a complaint to the management, would you continue to use the crèche facility?

tribpot Sat 28-Sep-13 11:32:13

I don't think I could, OP. How was it possible for her to get outside without anyone noticing?

The fact the staff didn't seem to realise the enormity of their mistake is also worrying. I don't like the sound of this place at all.

PookBob Sat 28-Sep-13 11:46:06

All the children were playing outside, but they brought them all back inside at the same time to prepare for the end of the session, it seems that they didn't count them back in and 'forgot' my dd sad

PookBob Sat 28-Sep-13 18:17:15

Any other opinions on this?

twittergirl Sat 28-Sep-13 18:22:40

Wow! I am really shocked by this. Both my kids went to nursery from 9 months and I've never experienced anything like this. Especially with such a low adult to child ratio.

If you have no option to continue to use them while you finish your course I would just have a quiet and civilised word with the manager for now but follow up with a formal written compliant when you don't need to use them anymore. They need to understand this is not acceptable.

PookBob Sat 28-Sep-13 18:32:04

That sounds like a good, reasonable plan, thank you. I feel a bit calmer about it this evening, will just need to hold it together when I speak to the manager, stress just makes me burst into tears!

EduCated Sat 28-Sep-13 18:32:38

Are they subject to OFSTED? Not all crèches are, but there will be others far, far more knowledgable than me about that.

But definitely complain. Loudly. Is it council run?

PookBob Sat 28-Sep-13 18:33:58

It's the local Sure Start centre.

Viviennemary Sat 28-Sep-13 18:37:43

I think you should report this. The staff need a wake up call. I agree that no way should a child of one be outside on her own. It's shocking. I would speak to your tutor and say how unhappy you were at the inadequate supervision. This looks like a far more serious situation just waiting to happen.

VivaLeThrustBadger Sat 28-Sep-13 18:41:19

Report it/complain.

Wasn't there an incident a while ago where a child died on outdoor play equipment in a nursery and it was some time before they realised she hadn't come inside with the other kids?

PookBob Sat 28-Sep-13 18:52:49

Oh God I remember that, it was featured in a documentary about private nurseries about a year ago. The poor girl had stood on a ride on and then put her head through the playhouse window and got stuck. I remember the interview with her parents which was heartbreaking.

Yes, I see they need to do something about this for future safeguarding.

NomDeClavier Sat 28-Sep-13 18:59:49

The crèche may not be OFSTED registered if parents are on sure but it's worth looking on the site to see whether it's listed, and if if is then you should report.

A strongly worded letter to the manager, CCing the local authority, would be my reaction.

gallicgirl Sat 28-Sep-13 19:03:38

Something similar happened to my niece and my sister complained to ofsted who investigated. Her children continued to attend and she maintained good relationships with staff. I think there was an issue with poor leadership and the manager left shortly afterwards.

You must complain so they can check safeguarding procedures are robust.

PookBob Sat 28-Sep-13 19:10:54

I've just checked and they had an OFSTED inspection this year that marked them as 'inadequate'.

I wish I had checked this before I left my children there, I had no idea, it's obviously not something they advertise.

EduCated Sat 28-Sep-13 19:29:43

In that case it sounds like there might be other concerns about their adequacy. Definitely follow up. Do you have any other child are alternatives whilst you're on the course?

PookBob Sat 28-Sep-13 20:28:46

The course is run by Sure Start so I would have to stop attending really. I was very keen on doing this course though, paediatric first aid!

PookBob Sat 28-Sep-13 22:15:41

Thank you for all the replies, you've really helped me to cope with this through the day. I may get some sleep tonight smile

notanyanymore Sat 28-Sep-13 22:21:40

I think you should complain, right away, in writing. It takes the pressure off 'holding it together' when you try raising it (I'm awful in those kind of situations and somehow always manage to talk myself out of it without them having said a word!) And IMO this scenario is well worth a formal complaint (especially if you need to continue to use the childcare) and in those circa its always best to have everything in writing to maintain an accurate record.

GingerbreadMoomin Sat 28-Sep-13 22:28:23

I'd complain straight away to the manager and to ofsted regardless of wanting to complete the course. I understand that you'll need them to provide childcare for the remainder of the sessions but they should be able to deal with your complaint in a mature way

PookBob Sat 28-Sep-13 22:39:12

Notanyanymore - exactly, I hate difficult conversations and can imagine by the end of it I would be the one apologising profusely!

notanyanymore Sat 28-Sep-13 22:47:05

Yup that's me too! But honestly within this set of circs you are not wrong to complain! From the sound of it you really need to continue with the childcare and if you complain, well its the only way really to get their attention and ensure they are properly looking after your child. Have you got anyone that could help you with the letter?

notanyanymore Sat 28-Sep-13 22:48:33

Or email, emails even better. Legally it holds the same weight as a written letter and you get a copy of what was written, when it was sent etc.

BrianTheMole Sat 28-Sep-13 22:51:04

Absolutely not good enough. Complain to ofsted.

Wonderstuff Sat 28-Sep-13 22:54:32

Definitely get it in writing and complain, I'd go to OFSTED too, even if you aren't ever going to use them again they need to improve things for the safety of other children. At 1 I'd expect staff have a child in their sights at all times.

PookBob Sat 28-Sep-13 22:54:53

Unfortunately I have guests all day tomorrow and most of the day on Monday, so will have to draft something Monday evening. Putting some more time between the event and writing the letter may actually help me to be less emotional and more direct with my complaint.

moldingsunbeams Sat 28-Sep-13 23:42:19

A friend of mine was involved in a similar incident, I would put a complaint in writing to both the creche and cc it to ofsted.
In my friends case the creche arranged 1 - 1 for her child for the remainder of the course.

While first aid is very important I am afraid without apology and acknowledgement of what they have done I would not be leaving my child there.

At our sure start centre the access to the outside at the front was very secure so a child wandering into the play area would not be a massive issue and indeed open play and access was encouraged however this is a one year old and a different ball game.

BlackberrySeason Sat 28-Sep-13 23:58:30

What happened was awful. Please do complain.

Thumbwitch Sun 29-Sep-13 04:31:51

I'm sorry that it seems as though you won't be able to complete your course but under the circumstances I wouldn't leave her there again.

Woefully inadequate care, and clearly getting a poor OFSTED report hasn't shaken them up sufficiently to pull their socks up, so it would be a definite No.

Report them to OFSTED, and cc OFSTED in to any communication you have with the manager.

LadyBarlow Sun 29-Sep-13 04:46:35

There should be a children's centre manager who is in charge of everything at the centre. I would write/speak to them but I would also be reporting this to ofsted immediately. This type of neglect would, in my experience, trigger a visit by an ofsted inspector. The setting will be expected to show they have procedures in place for children in their care & ofsted will then want to know why these policies were not adhered to.
Please please do not let this go, please report it.

PookBob Sun 29-Sep-13 20:20:13

Could anyone help? Particularly childcare professionals?

After I left the children's centre on Friday, should the staff have filled in some kind of record of this event? An accident book type entry of a safeguarding issue?

I would like to query wether this happened if it would have been standard procedure. I am concerned that they may not have done to protect themselves from internal or external investigation given their already 'inadequate' OFSTED rating.

Thank you,

hettienne Sun 29-Sep-13 20:28:45

I work in a children's centre and actually don't know what the procedure would be in that situation as we have never lost a child shock

I would want an immediate face to face meeting with the manager now though and would be contacting Ofsted and the LA.

zzzzz Sun 29-Sep-13 20:43:13

You must put in a formal complaint, and you mustn't leave your child with them.

Parent partnership might be able to help if you are feeling wobbly.

PookBob Sun 29-Sep-13 21:21:36

Zzzzzzz - could you tell me what parent partnership is?

zzzzz Sun 29-Sep-13 21:34:41

Have had a closer look and their help is focused on children with sn, which is a pity as they will advocate for you. I think a call to ofsted to talk through your concerns and how to best tackle this will make you feel more confident.

www.ofsted.gov.uk/early-years-and-childcare/for-parents-and-carers/how-complain

I think it's easier to be business like and brave on the phone.

Cindy34 Sun 29-Sep-13 21:49:50

Initially as others have already said, write to or talk to the manager. They may not be aware that the incident happened and they may be able to put in measures, procedures to prevent it happening again.
If the garden/playarea has a gate that is unlocked, then that needs addressing. It needs to be secure when in use by children.

An incident form should ideally have been completed at the time by the member of staff in charge at the time. Such reports are then used by management to identify risks and take action to minimise risks.

If actions taken by the manager are not to your satisfaction you could put a complaint in to the regulator.

PookBob Sun 29-Sep-13 22:56:33

Thank you zzzzzz, I'm going to go into the centre tomorrow morning and speak to the manager. I am going to ask if an incident report has been completed and really just get a feel for how seriously this is being taken. I will then probably contact OFSTED and talk it through with them.

PookBob Sun 29-Sep-13 22:59:54

Also, I am concerned that the other 5 parents on the course will continue to use this crèche facility for the next 4 weeks, and they will probably never know what happened on Friday, it could so easily have been one of their children.

I am absolutely against scaremongering and gossip, but I feel awful that I can't warn them about this.

chelsbells Sun 29-Sep-13 23:08:40

Glad to hear she was found safe and sound!!

I work in a nursery and the protocol for an incident like this would be managers taking witness statements of all staff, who left the outside space in what order, when then counted the children, who had the register, who checked the garden on leaving etc and how and when and what they did when they realized she was missing. This would then be gone through with you and reported to the local safeguarding board and suitable action then taken against the staff!

Ask to see the incident report as you have a right - and please complain to ofsted!! It isn't right that so called childcare can do this to the children!

PookBob Sun 29-Sep-13 23:14:31

Thank you Chelsbells, that's exactly the information I was looking for.

NomDeClavier Mon 30-Sep-13 09:24:18

chelsbells's nursery sounds like a fairly standard missing child protocol. There should definitely be a record and training identified for the staff member(s) responsible as a result.

Have you read the OFSTED report? Was safeguarding flagged up as an area of concern?

I'd also ask to see their relevant policies. If they don't have one which covers this eventuality then I would be worried what else they didn't have.

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Mon 30-Sep-13 09:33:34

I hope you do complain and get some urgent action. The way they run the place must be seriously flawed if this can happen - why weren't there checks in place to assign responsibility to one person for knowing where a one year old is? Why didn't them realising your child had been left unattended not set off some serious alarm bells? Really unsafe, and needs dealing with.

Talk to crèche and complain to ofsted.

LimitedEditionLady Mon 30-Sep-13 09:44:04

I think i wouldve fruit looped on the spot.well done for being calm.

Mummyoftheyear Sun 06-Oct-13 12:23:48

She's a one year old! Oh my goodness. I'm guessing that you won't be taking them back there? I hope that you have good alternatives. If not, I'd make my complaint in person to the manager and explain how deeply disturbing this is and has been for you, that you no longer have faith in their supervision, etc. Request some means of reassurance that this will not happen again (change in the way children are led from one area to another, which is assigned to whom , etc. can't believe so few children, too. 7:3

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now