New nursery probe possible after Chigwell toddler death verdict

A NURSERY which changed its name after a toddler accidentally hanged herself while playing in a Wendy house could be probed by Ofsted and the Department for Education.

Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray said she is “seriously considering” writing to both bodies in light of concerns records for what was formerly known as Eton Manor Day Nursery, Roding Lane, Chigwell, were “wiped from the slate” following re-registration.

She made the comments after a jury reached a verdict on the death of two-year-old Rhiya Malin last week.

They found the toddler, who lived in Hainault Road, Chigwell, died from cardiac arrest due to neck compression.

They said in their verdict that little Rhiya entered the playhouse, which was brought from Argos and had been modified, unnoticed by nursery staff.

She gained height using a scooter to reach the open gable end of the modified playhouse, when her neck became trapped.

The jury was told during the seven day-long hearing that two members of staff were using their mobile phones during the play time – something which was banned.

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Paramedics fought for 30 minutes to save the toddler after the incident on November 7, 2007, but she died that morning at Whipps Cross Hospital, Leytonstone.

The inquest at Chelmsford Coroner’s Court heard the company which owned the nursery was re-registered as Casterbridge Care and Education Nurseries Ltd in 2008.

During the investigation after Rhiya’s death, Ofsted picked up two incidents of children going missing within the nursery premises which were not reported to the education body.

Coroner Mrs Beasley-Murray said she was also minded to write to Trading Standards and the British Standards Institute highlighting that there was possibly a gap in the British toy standards as well as to the nursery owners concerning its mobile phone, purchasing and procurement policy and its risk assessment of equipment.

Rhiya’s parents Jay and Satl Malin say they are pursuing civil action.

Offering its condolences, a statement on behalf of Casterbridge said: “We will reflect with the utmost care on the evidence given and matters raised during the course of the inquest and consider any lessons that can be learned for the future.”