New guidelines after childcare centre falling tree injury

1:20 pm on 9 November 2016

The Early Childhood Council is advising childcare centres about the risks trees in play areas may pose after a falling tree injured children in Auckland yesterday.

The fallen tree at Discoveries Educare

The scene at Discoveries Educare this morning. Photo: RNZ / Gill Bonnett

Four preschoolers were hurt at Discoveries Educare in Epsom.

Starship Hospital said the two most seriously injured children were now stable. The other two injured preschoolers are believed to have been treated and discharged.

The centre is closed today while Worksafe investigates the incident, in which a large tree fell across the playground, crushing equipment.

The centre's owner, Ajit Singh, said staff wondered why no leaves were appearing on the tree but were never worried about it falling.

The Early Childhood Council said it knows centres will be concerned about what happened, though it was unaware of any similar previous event.

It said current regulations ordered centres to check for hazards daily, but that did not include trees.

It will look at the results of the investigation into yesterday afternoon's accident and advise centre managers what they should be doing.

The new guidance will advise childcare centres about tree maintenance and when to call in an arborist.

The Education Ministry said a traumatic incident support team was providing help to staff and families at the centre.

The ministry said it would work with the daycare centre to ensure debris was cleared away and any hazards were made safe.

No concerns were raised about the safety of the tree before it fell, it said.