Toddler, 3, trapped in school bus for five hours after driver failed to notice her fallen between the seats
An investigation revealed that the driver had not adequately carried out a mandatory check of the vehicle once the school run was over, and had failed to notice the sleeping child
A 3-year-old toddler was stuck on a school bus for five hours after "falling asleep and slipping between seats" before she was discovered by cleaners at the bus company's depot. Mali Jones was one of the students being driven to the nursery class at Ogmore Vale Primary School in Bridgend, Wales, on November 22, by bus company Davey's Travel, when she fell asleep and became trapped in the vehicle.
The distressed child, who was on the bus since at least 9 a.m., was found five hours later as she yelled for cleaners after having wet herself at the terminal in Abergarw Trading Estate, Brynmenyn.
27-year-old Amy Gibson, Mali's mother, told Daily Mail that she only received a text from her daughter's school at 11 a.m. telling her that Mali had not arrived for her classes. She also added that they made no attempt to contact her partner. Gibson was at work at the time of the incident and wasn't able to check her phone until 4 p.m. because of her employer's policy.
The horrified mother said: "I was really upset. When she saw me she was crying and said she had been left on the bus and we've had trouble with her ever since. She had wet herself and she called for the cleaners when they got on the bus. Fortunately, she turned out to be OK."
She added: "When I found out I called the police and they said the local authority had been informed. I spoke to the school, the bus company, and the council's transport department. I wrote a lot of questions for them to answer but I've had no feedback whatsoever. I am really not happy at all with the response."
Davey's Travel said that the toddler had fallen asleep on the way to school and slipped between the seats. A spokesperson for the company added: "We were horrified that this happened and the driver was devastated. We had two escorts on the bus.
"We have bought a new coach with CCTV cameras and we now have three escorts on the vehicle and they now walk the [coach] to make sure every single seat is checked. The child had fallen between the seats and she was with her sister — it's still not an excuse and we're not trying to put the blame on anyone."
They added: "It happened and we have put things in place to make sure this will never happen again. The child was back on the bus again that afternoon and the following day and has been back on it every day since. That child was never in danger. The coach was locked so she couldn't have got off and she was found by the cleaner. We got her in, fed and watered her and got her back to the school."
A spokesperson from Bridgend council said: "On November 22, 2018, a school transport provider informed Bridgend County Borough Council and Ogmore Vale Primary School that a nursery-age child had been discovered asleep on the school bus following the morning drop-off. An investigation revealed that the driver had not adequately carried out a mandatory check of the vehicle once the school run was over, and had made the error as the sleeping child had not been clearly visible in their seat."
They added: "The provider has undertaken swift remedial action and has put procedures in place to prevent this from reoccurring, and the council has reissued guidance to remind all school transport providers of the importance of ensuring that checks are carried out in full compliance with council advice."