Grieving Yamba mum lashes out

THE mother of a three-year-old boy who died in his sleep while in the care of a Yamba-based family daycare provider has lashed out at the carer, Clarence Family Daycare and the Department of Community Services for failing to design and implement proper guidelines for the safe care of children in their charge.

In the second day of a coronial inquest into Jayden Lynch’s death yesterday, Cyndi Lynch said if her son’s carer Kerrie Pemberton had been in the same room as her son at the time of his epileptic fit, he would still be alive.

“Despite my best effort ... I could not protect him from the system which is designed to provide him with care,” she said.

Over a gruelling six hours of evidence, testimony was heard from Mrs Pemberton’s husband Jeff Pemberton, forensic pathologist Dr Kasinathan Nadesan who conducted the autopsy, Jayden’s paediatrician Dr Ian Lennon, Clarence Family Daycare (CFD) childcare development officer Warwick Casson and Jayden’s mother Cyndi Lynch.

Mr Pemberton sobbed as he told the inquest that he felt like he had lost a part of his family, having seen Jayden raised in his home since the age of six months.

His account of his actions on the day of Jayden’s death was closely scrutinised by Crown solicitor Paul Gutteres.

Mr Casson was taken to task by coroner Scott Mitchell and various legal representatives regarding CFD’s apparent lack of detailed policy on the supervision of children in the organisation’s care.

Though Mr Casson stated the policy was to provide ‘effective supervision’ of children in care at all times, his honour Mr Mitchell said a clear regimen of supervision was not in place.

“It is fair to say that carers at large make up their own minds as to how often they check the children,” Mr Mitchell said.

Barrister Patrick Sainty, representing the Department of Community Services, made the argument that Mr Casson had not in fact fulfilled his duties of seeking out medical information pertaining to Jayden.

If Mr Casson had sought this information, Mr Sainty said, he would have realised Jayden was epileptic and a proper training schedule and emergency plan could be put in place for Mrs Pemberton.

Mr Casson said CFD had, since Jayden’s death, implemented a check system with special attention to breathing patterns.

Speaking about his autopsy report, Dr Nadesan pointed to evidence Jayden had suffered from bronchial pneumonia within the 24 hours prior to his death, a death caused, he said, by the clogging of the boy’s airways with stomach contents.

This, he said, usually does not occur in a conscious person – only an unconscious person loses their cough reflex, without which, vomited up material is inhaled deeper and deeper into the airway.

Mrs Lynch said she was always under the impression that Mrs Pemberton stayed in the ‘playroom’ with the children when they were sleeping and not in other rooms of the house which was the case.

It was revealed during the inquest that Mrs Pemberton had stopped operating a childcare service last week.

It is expected the inquest will conclude today.

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