Toddler beaten at upmarket crèche

2012-06-04 09:04
Pietermaritzburg - A 15-month-old toddler was beaten at an upmarket Pietermaritzburg crèche, while other allegations of abuse, including punishing children by putting fruit salt in their mouths, have also surfaced.

Police confirmed that they are investigating the alleged abuse at the Baby Steps day care centre in Walter Short Road, Scottsville.

Crèche owner Brenda Seery confirmed the assault involving the 15- month-old baby, but has denied other allegations of abuse against the children.

She said the child had been assaulted by a temporary cleaner who had been immediately dismissed.

Bruises

Early in May, a Scottsville attorney discovered that her 15-month-old daughter was being physically abused. The attorney cannot be named to protect the identity of her minor daughter, but her details are known to The Witness.

She said that while she had been changing her daughter for school on May 9 she found several red and purple bruise marks on the toddler’s thighs and buttocks and immediately became concerned.

“I was shocked to see these marks on my baby’s body. I had given her a bath the night before and I didn’t notice anything. My gut told me that something was very wrong. I took my baby to the crèche that morning wanting answers.”

There she was told that the crèche owner, Brenda Seery, was not available and would contact her as soon as possible.

“I was horrified 30 minutes later to receive a call from a hysterical Brenda saying that my daughter had been hit again by a worker.

“I raced over to the crèche and found Brenda, my husband (whom she had called), Brenda’s daughter Tamlyn and a casual worker standing outside,” the mother said.

A doctor confirmed in a statement to police that the injuries sustained by the child were consistent with that of a beating either by hand or with a stick.

A former employee at the crèche has since provided a written statement about what she observed while she worked there. She has asked that her identity be withheld for fear of victimisation.

“When a child is irritated, Brenda or Tamlyn would be quite rough with that child - by smacking or pushing them.

“The maids would do the same. Brenda is rarely there and Tamlyn leaves at about 13:45. The two maids are then left to look after the children there,” she said.

Denial


Seery, in a statement, maintained that the child had not been beaten with a stick. She also denied the allegations made by the former employee. She admitted administering fruit salts to some children, but said it was done with the parent’s permission.

“Some parents ask us to put chillies in their children’s mouth. We have never done that, but yes we have put a pinch of Eno’s in some of the children’s mouths,” said Seery.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Joey Jeevan said police were investigating and appealed to anyone who could assist in drawing up an identikit of the worker.
 
Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  child abuse

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