Qld toddler left on bus wakes in hospital

·2-min read

A central Queensland toddler is "sitting up and responsive" in a Brisbane hospital after being left on a childcare minibus for almost six hours.

Nevaeh Austin was left in a van as the temperature hit 28C outside Le Smileys Early Learning Centre at Gracemere, near Rockhampton, on Wednesday.

The three-year-old was flown to Queensland Children's Hospital in Brisbane in a critical condition, but she's now stable and conscious.

Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll says the investigation into how she was left on the minibus in continuing.

"I want my staff to be extraordinarily thorough about this to get the bottom of what occurred in Gracemere," she told reporters on Friday.

Nevaeh was the only passenger after being collected from her home about 9am on Wednesday.

The mini-van was parked at the centre's front door, but the two staff left the toddler in the vehicle.

As temperatures climbed to almost 30C, Nevaeh remained strapped into her seat, clutching her bag.

Almost six hours later, a staff member setting off for the after-school pick-up finally discovered the unconscious preschooler.

Earlier investigations suggest the two staff members who were on board the bus simply forgot Nevaeh.

"This should not have happened," Premier Annastacia told reporters.

"I'm very grateful to hear that the young girl is now sitting up and responsive that I think every Queensland would be so delighted to hear that news."

Opposition Leader David Crisafulli welcomed the news, calling it a "great story of survival".

But he said the incident raises serious questions about the centre, and the state government, after a three-year boy died in a similar incident in 2020.

"Today is the day to be grateful that a little girl has pulled through, but in the weeks ahead questions should be answered because this can't keep happening," Mr Crisafulli told reporters on Friday.

"Questions that have to be answered, and those questions relate to the systems that are in place both at a local level at the centre, but also what steps the government has taken to make sure that this is a priority.

Maliq Nicholas Floyd Namok-Malamoo, known as Meeky, died after being left on a hot bus in Cairns in February 2020.

His death prompted a change to state laws changed in 2020, placing obligations on all services transporting children.

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