Never again: Nevaeh’s family want childcare centre shut down

The family of a central Queensland toddler who was left on a minibus outside a childcare centre for six hours says the facility should be closed down.

May 10, 2022, updated May 10, 2022

Three-year-old Nevaeh Austin was found in critical condition after being left in a van as the temperature hit 28C outside Le Smileys Early Learning Centre at Gracemere, near Rockhampton, on Wednesday.

She was discharged from Queensland Children’s Hospital in Brisbane after recovering and flew home with her parents on Monday.

Nevaeh was the only passenger when the mini-van was parked at the centre’s front door, but the two staff left the toddler in the vehicle.

Police and the education department are investigating, but her grandmother Pam has called for the centre to be closed.

“To be quite honest, I want to see that centre closed,” she told Nine’s Today program on Tuesday.

“As simple as that. The Department of Education should close it down.”

The incident is similar to the death of Maliq Nicholas Floyd Namok-Malamoo in Cairns in February 2020.

The three-year-old died from heat stress when he was left on a bus for almost six hours after being picked up to go to a childcare centre.

Pam said Le Smileys Early Learning Centre staff had no excuse for forgetting her granddaughter.

“One life lost already is a tragedy, to almost lose another is (incomprehensible),” she said.

“They have one duty of care and that is to look after our children.”

Comment has been sought from Education Minister Grace Grace.

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