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DAYCARE

6,000 pre-school kids hurt each year: report

Over 19,000 children attending pre-schools in Sweden 2008-2010 were injured so badly that they required emergency care, according to National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) figures.

6,000 pre-school kids hurt each year: report

The figures have been compiled by TV4 investigative reporting programme Kalla Fakta and Swedish authorities have described them as “alarming”.

The most common cause of injury is falls, but there are also a large number of crushing and cutting injuries.

Furthermore the number of accidents reported at Swedish pre-schools would appear to be increasing.

In 2009 5,900 accidents occurred, which required treatment at a hospital emergency department. Since then, the numbers have increased steadily.

Figures from the National Agency for Education (Skolverket) show that groups are expanding within daycare providers, with 18 percent consisting of 21 or more children.

This can be compared with 2003 when the figure was 15 percent.

Staffing levels have at the same time declined. In 2006 there was an average of 5.1 children per pre-school staff member, compared to 5.4 in autumn 2010.

“Of course, group sizes and staffing levels have an impact on the safety of children in pre-school. The staff have a huge responsibility for children within the operation,” said Ingegerd Johansson at the National Agency for Education.

According to Johansson’s colleague Carina Hall, the trend towards increasingly large groups of pre-school children is “alarming” because group sizes and make up are a defining characteristic of quality.

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CHILD ABUSE

Swedish daycare worker jailed for child sex abuse

A Swedish court on Friday sentenced a male daycare (dagis) worker to six and a half years in prison for four cases of rape and 20 cases of sexual assault against toddlers aged one to three in his charge.

Swedish daycare worker jailed for child sex abuse
The assaults took place at eight of the daycares where the man worked from March 2014 until June 2015. Photo: Victor Lundberg / TT

The 40-year-old man, who worked at 40 different daycares in the southern municipality of Kristianstad as a temp agency employee, pleaded guilty to the charges, a statement from the Kristianstad district court said.

The assaults took place at eight of the daycares where he worked from March 2014 until June 2015.

“The man sexually abused several girls during diaper changes. The girls were between one and three years old. The 40-year-old, documented the abuses himself with his mobile phone camera,” the court said.

“The crimes are considered aggravated because of the way he carried them out, the fact that he abused his position as a child minder, and that he abused the trust he enjoyed,” it added.

“Crimes like these are very rare,” court spokesman Markus Nilsson told the AFP news agency.

The defendant also found guilty of one charge of abusive photography and one case of aggravated child pornography for documenting the abuses and saving the photographs on his computer.

The man, whose name was not disclosed, was caught in July when he sexually abused a young girl at a theme park where he was employed.

During police interrogation he came clean about the daycare assaults and rapes.

He risked a maximum sentence of seven-and-a-half years behind bars but was given a year less than the maximum because he had collaborated with the police investigation.

The court also ordered the man to pay damages totalling 1.6 million kronor ($188,000) to his victims.