Mum sues childcare centre after toddler’s bus death

Savannah Meacham |

A childcare centre is being sued over the death of a toddler left in a bus seat for six hours.
A childcare centre is being sued over the death of a toddler left in a bus seat for six hours.

A mum is suing a childcare centre after her toddler was left on a bus outside the far north Queensland facility and died from heat stress.

Maliq “Meeky” Nicholas Floyd Namok-Malamoo died after he was left buckled into his seat on Edmonton Goodstart Early Learning centre’s minibus for six hours in February 2020.

The three-year-old’s mother Muriel Namok said she would never get over her son’s death and launched legal action on Tuesday for the centre’s alleged negligence.

“No amount of compensation will ever amount to my son’s life,” she said in a statement.

The lawsuit claimed the centre breached its duty of care to the three-year-old and his mother and is vicariously liable for Ms Namok’s post-traumatic stress disorder and depression as a result of her child’s death.

It also alleged the child’s death has severely impacted Ms Namok’s earning capacity given the need for ongoing medication, medical treatment and counselling.

The lawsuit claimed that a reasonable person would have taken precautions to prevent the child’s death like checking transport services for any remaining kids or a list of children who had gone off and on the bus.

Ms Namok’s Slater and Gordon lawyer Stuart Lester said the child’s death was preventable and the lawsuit was to seek compensation to help the family move forward.

Former centre director Michael Glenn Lewis and worker Dionne Batrice Grills – who picked up the child in the bus – were charged with manslaughter following the incident.

Lewis pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six years’ jail in 2021.

Ms Grills was found not guilty in 2022.

Goodstart Early Learning was also fined $71,000 after pleading guilty to failing to adequately supervise children, failing to protect children from harm or hazard likely to cause injury and failing to take reasonable steps to ensure documentation was accurate.