AK: Kindergartener hospitalized in serious condition after sandpit incident

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The Terakes kindergarten in Saku. Source: ERR

A kindergartener has been hospitalized following an incident playing with other children in a sandpit, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Wednesday night. A police investigation is looking at possible gross negligence on the part of the facility's on-duty teachers.

AK reported that the child, whose age was not given, was taken to hospital Tuesday, where they remain, in a condition described as serious.

A group of children had been playing in the sandpit, at the Terakes kindergarten in Saku, near Tallinn, under the supervision of two teachers, at the time the incident took place, AK reported.

"What we know is that the children were playing in the sandbox, and were digging," Urmet Tambre, head of the Police and Border Guard Board's (PPA) northern prefecture said.

"At one point, one of the teachers noticed that the injured child was partly covered in sand. They rushed to help immediately. The sand was mostly covering the face," he added.

The PPA are now investigating the incident under the section of the penal code dealing with gross negligence, and establishing what the teachers were doing and where they were when the child's injuries occurred.

Saku deputy mayor told AK that social distancing measures are in place at the kindergarten, meaning contact between children, who are retained in separate groups, each with its own class house and play area (see cover image), and also teachers, is minimal.

"There were a lot of children in the sandbox at that point in time," Ots said, adding that the outdoor facility also has a swing.

"There were two teachers with the group ... so in that sense the children were being supervised. They were all outside with the teachers," Ots added. 

The PPA have taken statements from both children and kindergarten staff. Urmet Tambre stressed that no culpability was being placed on any of the other children playing in the same group when the incident occurred.

Children up to the age of seven can attend kindergartens, which are often privately owned, in Estonia, though attendance is not mandatory. Coronavirus restrictions have included a bar on parents entering a kindergarten's premises.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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