Margot Loh and Joseph Loh believed their baby Jack was safe with the childcare providers in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
They were so comfortable, the staff seemed like people they could trust and who would nurture them.
In March 2019, Jack, seven months old, was put to sleep in a poorly ventilated room in a bassinet which was too dangerous for a child his size.
Instead of wearing the sleepsuit his mother had given him, he was wearing a loosely wrapped dribble bib and clothes over his clothes. His childcare worker had lost her CPR certification and found him unresponsive after 40 minutes. She needed to get instructions from triple zero. She was too late.
An inquest into Jack Loh’s death found that the baby died from pulmonary hypertension. It was undiagnosed by the doctor. The unsafe environment at Randwick’s Rhythm and Rhyme Family Day Centre, managed by Kidstart, contributed to the child’s death.
Derek Lee, Deputy Secretary of State, said that there was overwhelming evidence that babies were sleeping in unsafe conditions at the centre. The bassinet, which was too small to fit the seven-month old and contained a poor-fitting mattress, a loose-fitting sheet, and wrap, would have impeded his mobility and presented a risk of suffocation.
Since bassinets are dangerous for children once they can roll, Mr Lee recommended that all early childhood education and care settings be subject to national regulations.
Joe, Jack’s father, said that the bassinet ban was one of the seven recommendations Mr Lee made in the findings. Other recommendations related to training, risk assessment, and oversight issues were also made by Lee. He was pleased to see them, but still horrified at the way the industry has worked to date.