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[Newsmaker] Day care kept mum about leaving behind toddler in vehicle

Police suspect that a day care center tried to cover up a recent incident in which a girl, 3, was left alone in a vehicle for 2 1/2 hours.

Parents of the toddler reported the incident to police Monday night when they heard about what had happened in the morning from their child after they returned home from work.

The child was on the day care bus when it arrived at the center in Nam-gu, Busan, at about 8:40 a.m. on Monday.

The day care center texted the girl’s mother when they did not see the girl come to the center past 10 a.m.


When the mother told them that she had put her daughter on the school bus, the staff went to the vehicle parked in the center’s parking lot and found the toddler alone at the rearmost seat, Busan police said.

The day care, however, told the mother that her child had been in another classroom, according to police.

“It appears that the day care did not immediately inform the parents about the fact that the child had been left in the vehicle,” police said. “We are still looking into the details of what happened.”

The child hasn’t shown any symptoms of physical illness, but is reported to be suffering from trauma.

The day care center later admitted they had made a mistake as they were rushing due to heavy rain.

Police booked the director of the day care center and staff in charge of helping children from the bus on the day of the incident on charges of child neglect, and the driver of the vehicle for a possible safety violation of the road transport law.

The Nam-gu ward office said it will decide whether to temporarily close the day care center or suspend the director’s qualifications to run a day care depending on the results of the police investigation.

Last month, a 4-year-old girl died after she was left in a school bus for seven hours in the heat in Dongducheon, Gyeonggi Province.

Busan Mayor Oh Keo-don visited the day care center in Nam-gu on Wednesday, and asked for extra care in ensuring the safety of children.

By Kim So-hyun (