The grieving parents of 16-month-old girl Arianna Maragol – who died after being found unresponsive at a Sydney childcare center – have told 7.30 their daughter’s death was “a tragedy waiting to happen”.
- The childcare center and its owner have been fined more than $140,000 combined for inadequate care at the center
- Arianna’s father, Jozef Maragol, says “early childhood regulation needs reform”
- A court was told Arianna had not been physically checked in her cot by childcare staff for three hours
A court has found Berry Patch Preschool in Kellyville Ridge and its owner, Helen Jacobs, guilty of 13 charges, including failure to adequately supervise children and protect them from harm.
These charges did not relate to responsibility for Arianna’s death. The cause of her death remains unknown and will be investigated at an upcoming coroner’s inquest.
The child care center and its owner were fined more than $140,000 combined.
“Early childhood regulation needs reform,” said Arianna’s father, Jozef Maragol.
“How can someone pass away and the penalties are monetary penalties?
“The truth has come out. It’s very important to know that the system has recognized that mistake, that negligence.”
Baby was not checked for three hours
The court was told childcare staff did not physically check on Arianna for three hours while she was in her cot before she was found unconscious on August 24, 2018.
A CCTV footage log submitted to the court shows staff laid Arianna down for a nap and put a blanket over her at 9.02, but no check took place before 12.06.
At the time, the nursery’s policy was to carry out checks every 10 minutes, but this could mean simply monitoring children using CCTV footage.
Arianna was taken to Westmead Children’s Hospital, where she later died.
“I dream that nightmare every night — that I found Arianna, lifeless, in the hospital,” said Arianna’s mother, Anet Eyvazians.
Sir. Maragol and Ms Eyvazians said the Berry Patch center had never contacted them after their daughter’s death.
During the trial, Judge David Price was also critical of the NSW Department of Education’s knowledge of the use of CCTV to monitor pre-school children.
Berry Patch Preschool Kellyville Ridge and its owner, Ms Jacobs, did not respond to questions from ABC’s 7.30.
“I just want to be with my family, but my family is not complete anymore,” Mr Maragol said.
“They just destroyed us. There is no way to explain in words what they have done to us.”
CCTV surveillance is no longer sufficient
A spokesman for the New South Wales Department of Education said since the incident the regulator had “reviewed guidance and [advised] the use of CCTV, sound monitors or cardiac monitors in lieu of physical checks is not considered adequate supervision”.
The spokesperson added that all service providers are required to have policies based on best practice that align with the regulations.
Arianna’s family is seeking more answers from an upcoming trial.
Meanwhile, Arianna’s parents continue to push for tighter regulation in the sector.
“She lived such a short life on this earth,” Ms. Eyvazians said.
“I hope she is so proud of us – that we can make changes and be her voice.
“To save other children and not let other families – any mothers and fathers – go through this nightmare.”