26 September 2023

New bus rules so children not left behind

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The Department of Communities has supported new regulations that require centre-based childcare services to ensure children who are regularly transported be better accounted for.

The Department welcomed amendments to Western Australia’s Education and Care Services National Regulations sought to reduce the risk of children being accidentally left inside vehicles and applied it to all centre-based services that offered or arranged regular transportation of children.

It said the changes require the centres to make sure children were accounted for as they got in or out of a vehicle by a staff member or a nominated supervisor other than the driver.

“The interior of the vehicle is checked to ensure no children are left behind and records must be kept of how each child was accounted for,” it said.

“The Department must be notified when regular transportation starts being provided or arranged by the services, and if or when it stops.”

The Department said that while most centre-based childcare services were diligent when transporting children in their care, since 2017 it had initiated 12 disciplinary proceedings before the State Administrative Tribunal relating to centre-based services leaving children unattended inside vehicles.

“These proceedings have resulted in these services being collectively fined more than $157,000,” it said.

“Four of those incidents occurred during the hottest part of the day between 1pm and 4pm, with unsupervised times ranging from five minutes up to over two hours.

“The ages of the children left unattended ranged from three to six years old,” the Department said.

More information about the new transport regulations can be accessed at this PS News link.

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