An Edinburgh nursery has been fined £800,000 after an eleven-month-old boy in its care died after choking on a piece of food.
The young boy was eating dinner at Bright Horizons Corstorphine Nursery on 9 July 2019 when he began to choke.
When a staff member returned from using the bathroom, she thought he was sleeping. When she realised he was not breathing, an ambulance was called and staff attempted to dislodge the blockage in his airway by slapping him on the back.
They also performed CPR. When paramedics arrived they were able to remove the obstruction, which was later found to be a piece of mango. The young boy was taken to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children but died the following day.
An investigation found that between 21 May 2019 and 9 July 2019 the employer, Bright Horizons Family Solutions Ltd, failed to provide employees at the Corstorphine nursery with suitable instruction and supervision to adequately control the risk of choking during mealtimes.
The investigation also found a number of other occasions between 21 May 2019 and 9 July 2019 when staff were involved with other tasks and therefore not watching the children eat. At Edinburgh Sheriff Court today, Bright Horizons Family Solutions Ltd admitted failings under Health and Safety at Work legislation and was fined £800,000.
Since the child’s death the company has reviewed its policies and procedures, and provided additional training to all Scottish staff. Alistair Duncan, Head of the Health and Safety Investigation Unit of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, said: “This tragic death could have been prevented if staff had been given suitable instruction and supervision in relation to their duties to properly supervise children’s mealtimes.
“Childcare providers have an enormous responsibility to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the children in their care, but in this case, Bright Horizons Family Solutions Ltd failed to live up to that responsibility.
“This should serve as a warning to others of the devastating consequences of such failures.
“My sincere condolences are with the family as they attempt to come to terms with their loss.”