A mum has recalled the horror of seeing her baby boy battered and bruised after he was attacked by an older child while left unsupervised at a Brisbane daycare centre.
Seven-month-old Jack Swindells was lying under a playmat, waiting for a nappy change, when he was beaten, scratched and bitten by a four-year-old child.
It was only the second time he had attended the facility.
Staff contacted Jack’s mum, Angela, to let her know her son had been scratched on the head.
But nothing could prepare Ms Swindells for the shocking extent of his injuries when she went to pick up Jack and his older sister from childcare later that afternoon.
She was horrified to find Jack with two black eyes and covered in scratches.
Ms Swindell claims staff tried to assure her that an educator was in the room at the time of the incident, which lasted ‘mere seconds’.
Seven-month-old Jack Swindells (pictured) was left covered in scratches and bites marks after he was attacked by an older child at his daycare while left unsupervised
‘I was furious. He had black eyes, he’d been hit with a wooden jigsaw puzzle piece that had left an imprint on the back of his head, he had bite marks on his arms, scratches all over his face,’ Ms Swindells told ABC’s 7.30.
‘When I took my son to the doctor [they] told me that his injuries wouldn’t have happened within seconds, it would have been sustained over several minutes.’
But when Ms Swindells probed further and filed a complaint, the centre admitted that Jack had been temporarily left alone in the room with older children unsupervised.
An email from the childcare centre stated: ‘The educator supervising at the time is writing a critical reflection and is extremely remorseful that this took place when she went to change a child’s nappy; despite having adequate staff for the amount of children, we must be more mindful of when to carry out other tasks.’
The family is now pursuing legal action against the childcare centre.
The Swindells are represented by Shine Lawyers, which has seen a growing caseload of injuries sustained at childcare centres across Australia.
One concerning case involves a child who broke their back after falling from a tree.
‘Across the board, we’re typically seeing incidents where children are falling from heights,’ lawyer Sharntiesha Hogan said.
‘So falling from tables or chairs, incidents where children are falling from play equipment and injuring themselves, and where children being physically attacked by other children.
‘And the common factor across all of those incidents really comes back to the lack of supervision.’
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Shine Lawyers for further comment.
It comes a month after a toddler was rushed to hospital after suffering a head knock at a childcare centre in Adelaide.
In a separate incident, another daycare centre was slapped with a record $90,000 in fines this week after an unsupervised child was found unconscious with a skipping rope around their neck.
According to the latest data, an astonishing 27,551 breaches occurred nationwide at approved early childhood education centres in 2021-22.
The most frequent breaches related to failing to protect children from harm and hazards and inadequate supervision.
Around 27,551 breaches occurred nationwide at approved early-childhood education centres in 2021-22. Pictured is federal early childhood services minister Anne Aly
Experts claim safety standards have been compromised in childcare settings due to a critical staffing shortage across Australia.
‘It is beyond a crisis. And unless something is done, we will not have an early childhood education system in Australia anymore,’ Professor Susie Garvis from Griffith University’s Institute for Educational Research said.
Early childhood education minister Anne Aly has requested the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority to review childcare safety standards.
She added the government doesn’t know why breaches in childcare settings have risen by 10 per cent in the last five years.
‘We know that there are more children in care. We know that there are more early childhood education and care providers, which may well be contributing factors to this,’ Ms Aly told 7.30.