Shocked parents have revealed how police and paramedics fought for 20 minutes to save the life of a little girl at a daycare center before she died two days later.
The two-year-old had a ‘medical episode’ – likely a choking incident – at Humpty Doo childcare centre, 40km south-east of Darwin in the Northern Territory, last Thursday.
Emergency services performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation at the scene before transferring her to a nearby medical center where rescue operations continued, residents said.
The girl was then rushed to the Royal Darwin Hospital but staff were unable to save her and she died on Saturday.
Police have launched an investigation, but official silence around the tragedy has left the parents of the children in custody frustrated and angry.
Many have kept their children away from the center while the official investigation continues. Tuesday, they were only 30 to attend a center that can accommodate up to 116 toddlers.
“It’s very concerning and devastating,” one mother told Daily Mail Australia. “It’s heartbreaking to know that a child has been dropped off and never comes home.
The two-year-old had a ‘medical episode’ – likely a choking incident – at Humpty Doo Childcare Center (pictured), 40km south-east of Darwin, Northern Territory .
Many parents have now kept their children away from the center – which can accommodate up to 116 toddlers – as official inquiries continue, with only around 30 children reported yesterday.
“No parent would think dropping their child off at daycare would be the last time they would see them.
“All of this will eventually come to light, but not quickly enough for parents. We kept our daughter home today and many more were missing from her group yesterday.
“We respect that the family needs privacy, but the Chinese whispers about what happened are creating even more angst.”
Parents were given few details about the incident, with three text messages sent through the center’s app to update them.
“The first email said something had happened,” the mother revealed. “The mate said an investigation was ongoing and they couldn’t give further details.
“Then on Monday the last message said the baby girl died on Saturday, an investigation was ongoing and for the privacy of the family involved they could not say more.”
The last message from the center said to parents: “I hope this message finds you and your family well in these difficult times.
“We are deeply saddened to inform you that the baby girl who required medical attention at RDH (Royal Darwin Hospital) following Thursday’s incident tragically died over the weekend.
“Our hearts are heavy and our thoughts are with family and friends at this time.
“As this matter is still under investigation and with respect for the family, we are still limited in what can be shared and appreciate the stress and worry this may cause.
“The center will continue to operate as normal for the time being, unless circumstances change, we will let you know.”
Parents say they have received few details about the incident, with only three emails (the latest is pictured) via the center’s app keeping them updated since the unfolding of the incident. the tragedy.
A mother added: “I really hope the daycare did everything in their power not to contribute to the death of this poor child.
“Some sort of acknowledgment of what happened, without too many details, might ease the parents’ minds. I understand due process, but saying nothing doesn’t help.
The nonprofit daycare is run by local parents with annual revenue of $3 million and an annual payroll of more than $2.3 million for mom and dad staff.
Some parents say there has been a drop in standards of care at the center recently and say children as young as two are being doused with cold water when they are changed.
“They got lazy in reporting on a child’s day,” one parent said. “They indicated the meals eaten and their quantity, the activity of diapers or toilets and the hours of sleep, as well as photos.
“But they haven’t done it for a few months. They say they don’t have enough assistive devices or enough staff to do it. It’s frustrating because you have to know these things.
They added: “They have maybe three or four toilets for more than 40 children, and even more if you count the younger group.
“They use a cold water hose to rinse the kids and change them…which I thought was a bit extreme. The weather is good most of the year, but in June/July it is cold here.
“It reminds me of Humpty Doo maybe 20 years ago, but these days it’s crazy.”
The girl was rushed to the Royal Darwin Hospital (pictured) but staff could not save her and she died on Saturday
Northwest Territories Education Minister Eva Lawler added her own message of sympathy for the deceased toddler’s family in a social media post overnight.
“My deepest condolences to the family and community of Humpty Doo Child Care on the tragic news that your beautiful baby girl passed away over the weekend,” she posted on Facebook.
‘My heart breaks for you. How sad.
Her office stressed that all parents involved in staffing the center were suitably trained to work in childcare.
“The center is run by a parent-led committee,” a spokesperson for the minister told Daily Mail Australia.
“All parents are and should be fully qualified by federal standards. These standards fall under the QECNT.
“Humpty Doo Daycare is not under NT Gov/NT Education. »
They also defended the lack of information about the drama despite the concern of other parents.
“A coronary investigation is ongoing into this poor young girl’s tragic event, we respect that process,” the spokesperson added.
“We are offering space and time to this family as this tragic, life-altering event has just occurred.”
NT Police confirmed the matter was being investigated but said the death did not appear suspicious.
A spokesperson added: “A report will be prepared for the coroner. »