By: Gurbir Singh                                                                           Freelance Feature Writer & Journalist                           gurbir@journalist.com 

WorkSafe investigation into the tragic accident and death of four-year-old Aldrich Viju at Angels Childcare Centre in Takapuna, Auckland on November 18 last year, has cleared the Centre of any wrongdoing.

According to reports, WorkSafe will not lay any charges or prosecute the management of Angels Childcare Centre as “there was no way of knowing that wearing stilts on the slide could have put anyone in danger”.

WorkSafe’s decision has been reportedly conveyed to the Viju family who are originally from Kochi, in Kerala (India).

The tragic accident happened within an hour after Aldrich’s mother dropped him at the centre on that fateful day. He was reportedly playing on a plastic slide in the playground when his toy slits- tied by a cord– got caught in the slide. Resuscitation efforts to revive the child were unsuccessful.

At that time, Angels Childcare Centre Manager, Bryan McCloughan was quoted to have said, “The type of apparatus that was used is through many childcare centres in New Zealand…It can all happen in 30 seconds, and this happened very quickly, and with fully trained staff”.

After the tragedy of her son, the devastated mother, Gisha Viju, had called for safety improvements at all child centres, installation of CCTV cameras in play areas, and increasing the number of staff for effective supervision.

The Ministry of Education is likely to revert the Centre’s provisional licence to a full licence to operate after this decision of WorkSafe.

The matter is still before the coroner and no decision has been made so far on whether there will be an inquest.

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