Tragic series of failings that led to a ‘healthy and happy’ boy, 2, dying at Sydney daycare centre


The devastated parents of a seven-month-old boy who went to sleep at a daycare centre and never woke up, told an inquiry into the baby’s tragic death that he was ‘happy and healthy’.

Jack Loh was being cared for at a family day care centre run out of a home in Randwick, Sydney’s east, when he was placed in a bassinet and left unmonitored for up to 40 minutes on March 4, 2019.

Helen Rateau, who was a subcontractor for Kidstart Family Day Care, later discovered baby Jack with a ‘blue face and not breathing’.

A 10-day inquest is now being held by the NSW Coroner’s Court to uncover the litany of failings that may have contributed to Jack’s death.

The hearing is also expected to make improvements on the regulatory framework which governs the NSW childcare industry.

Jack Loh (pictured) was being cared for at a family day care centre run out of a home in Randwick, Sydney's east, when he was placed in a bassinet and left unmonitored for up to 40 minutes on March 4, 2019

Jack Loh (pictured) was being cared for at a family day care centre run out of a home in Randwick, Sydney’s east, when he was placed in a bassinet and left unmonitored for up to 40 minutes on March 4, 2019

Both Mr and Ms Loh believe their son's tragic death could have been prevented (pictured together)

Both Mr and Ms Loh believe their son’s tragic death could have been prevented (pictured together)

Jack’s parents, Margot and Joseph Loh, both gave evidence at the inquest on Monday, describing their horror to learn that their child had been placed in a bassinet against recommendations, news.com reported.

‘We thought he was a healthy, happy, normal baby,’ Ms Loh said. ‘To find out otherwise, it was a huge shock.’

The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) advises that babies should not be left in bassinets to sleep as they are far less safe than a regular cot.

The childcare body also recommends children be closely monitored and checked on every 10 to 15 minutes.

In this case, little Jack was left unattended for between 30 to 40 minutes. 

The inquiry heard that although there was a baby monitor in the room, it was not turned on.

Katherine Richardson, Senior Counsel assisting the inquest, said Ms Rateau had been on the phone for a period of that time – sending texts, calling her sister and offering details to another parent about enrolling at the centre.

The Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) advises that babies should not be left in bassinets (pictured) to sleep as they are not safe

The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) advises that babies should not be left in bassinets (pictured) to sleep as they are not safe

‘When Ms Rateau next checked Jack, he was facedown in the bassinet with a blue face and not breathing,’ Ms Richardson said.

Ms Rateau immediately gave first aid to Jack but he was later pronounced dead at Sydney Children’s Hospital that afternoon.

The inquest heard that Ms Loh had dropped off a sleep suit for Jack at the daycare centre, but he was not wearing it at the time of his death.

It was also revealed that Jack had been placed in a dribble bib – something Ms Loh said she would ‘never put him to sleep in’ because it was dangerous.

Although an autopsy ruled Jack died of pulmonary hypertension – a type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries in your lungs and heart – the inquest is examining if other factors may also have contributed to his death.

Jack had previously suffered from bronchiolitis and a slight heart murmur – but doctors told the young parents these types of ailments were ‘normal’.

Both Mr and Ms Loh believe their son’s tragic death could have been prevented.

Kidstart Family Day Care in Randwick, Sydney's east, was run out a suburban home

Kidstart Family Day Care in Randwick, Sydney’s east, was run out a suburban home 

Ms Rateau and Kidstart have both had their approval to provide childcare cancelled by the Department of Education in the wake of the saddening case.

Last month Kidstart was slapped with nine charges relating to adequately protecting children.

Ms Rateau pleaded guilty to not protecting children from harm, along with other child safety offences.

She was hit with a $7500 fine and ordered by the court to undergo a conditional release order for 18 months.

Daily Mail Australia is not suggesting Ms Rateau or Kidstart contributed to the death of baby Jack.

The inquest continues.



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