Toddler found in street near Auckland daycare

Police were called to a North Shore day care center today after a good Samaritan couple said they found a young boy, who they estimated to be around 2 years old, walking in the middle of a nearby street in approaching traffic.

“I went in the middle of the road to pick up the boy,” said Kylie, who asked The New Zealand Herald not to use his last name.

She had been out for a walk around 10 a.m. with her husband Martin, their two dogs and their young son, who was strapped to her in a hiking backpack, when they spotted the child in the middle of Northcote’s College Rd in down the street from Harborside Kids Daycare. Center.

“Fortunately, there was a truck that slowed down for me,” she recalls, explaining that she had rushed into the street to protect the child from traffic. “I was waving my hands like crazy.”

Police confirmed that they had been called to the scene and were “following what had happened”.

Answer questions from HeraldHarborside Kids Childcare Center issued a statement acknowledging that a child had “unintentionally left” daycare and was found by a member of the public.

“Our understanding is that the child was gone for three minutes and was noticed within that time,” the statement said.

“Immediately, steps were taken to locate the child and notify the relevant authorities.

“As soon as the child was found, the parents were notified and there was subsequent contact with the Ministry of Education. A full investigation is currently underway to determine how this happened and what action to take. ‘improvement must be taken. “

Pending the outcome of an investigation, the child’s parents currently do not want the case to be escalated, the center’s statement said.

The incident follows a case at another Auckland daycare earlier this month in which a truck driver allegedly brought a 2-year-old boy back to the facility after the child was able to get out.

Kylie said she was grateful to have read the previous story, which she had previously shared with her coffee group for other mothers, so she had an idea of ​​how to react to the unusual situation.

“We were talking about how upset we would be if it was our child,” she said of her coffee group, adding that she was shocked to find herself in a similar situation a week ago. later.

“Being a mother myself, I was actually trying not to cry – I couldn’t believe it. The last thing you want to imagine is putting your child in day care and having him walk the streets.”

Not wanting to be mistaken for kidnappers, she immediately called the police as her husband walked down the street to see if there were child care centers nearby. Martin heard children playing about 100 yards from where they found the child and alerted the daycare that one of their children may be missing, she said.

“They said they didn’t realize they were missing a child,” Kylie said.

She said the two teachers who went outside were initially reluctant to tell her the name of the daycare, making her unsure whether to hand over the child.

“But the police communicator spoke to them and told me I could let the child go,” she said.

Of the country’s more than 4,600 licensed preschool learning services, 10 complaints were lodged in 2019 – the most recent benchmark year – regarding “allegations of children accidentally leaving a service due to unsecured premises or ‘a lack of supervision of staff,’ according to the ministry. education. Eight of the complaints were upheld.

Auckland Department of Education chief Isabel Evans confirmed that the agency had been alerted to Monday’s incident.

“We were made aware of the incident today and asked the service provider for his incident report and investigative notes to inform the ministry’s investigation,” she said.

Early childhood education services are required to notify the ministry when they notify other agencies – such as WorkSafe, the police, or Oranga Tamariki – of serious incidents.

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