Autistic child left scarred for life after injuries at nurseries as family left with fears over care

A Scots gran fears for the safety of her non-verbal grandaughter at nursery, after she's been scarred for life following multiple accidents.

Gweneth Smith said Cleo, 4, who is autistic has been through a 'horrendous ordeal', after suffering five severe injuries in two years.

Last week Cleo was left with a gash in her knee that needed stitches following an incident at Riverbrae nursery in Linwood on Friday, 7 June. It is claimed that is it the third time she's been injured at the nursery.

Gweneth, from Paisley, alleges staff told her Cleo had tripped on a seashell in the playground.

But the worried family has asked to see CCTV footage.

Gweneth, 51, said a string of accidents at Riverbrae and Foxlea nurseries have caused "tremendous harm and ongoing trauma" to Cleo leaving her with scars on her head, shin and knee.

Council bosses have launched an investigation into the latest accident at Riverbrae, a specialist nursery for children with complex needs where Cleo gets one-to-one supervision.

Gweneth said: "She was terrified and several doctors had to hold her down to get four stitches.

"It has been a horrendous ordeal for her. When a child gets one-to-one care you think they'll be safe. Now we are worried about her going to nursery."

In a previous incident at Riverbrae last October Cleo was struck on the head by another child.

The following day Cleo was rushed to hospital after the same child, who also receives one-to-one care, bashed her head off a table.

Three nursery teachers allegedly were in the classroom at the same time, with one teacher sitting at the table next to Cleo.

Now Gweneth is angry that Cleo has been left 'traumatised' again. Recalling the worst incident, she said the tot was left with a nasty gash in her leg 'like she had been slashed by a knife'.

On Halloween in 2022 Cleo was rushed to hospital after an incident at Foxlea nursery, a mainstream nursery that she also attends two days a week.

The nursery reviewed CCTV footage which showed a nursery teacher who was wearing high heels fell backwards onto Cleo's shin, leaving her with a huge gash.

Gweneth who has power of attorney over Cleo's autistic mother, submitted a complaint to the Care Inspectorate. She said: "The wound was horrific, it looked like she'd been slashed with a knife.

"They claimed they thought blood coming through her tights after was part of her pumpkin costume then suggested Cleo must have been sent in like that. It was despicable."

The Care Inspectorate investigated and said staff had kept the wound uncovered so parents could see it.

But the watchdog found that medical advice and attention should have been sought by the nursery after the incident.

Six months later Cleo suffered a head injury at Foxlea, which staff said was caused after she fell on the spike of a large sensory ball.

Gweneth said: "Cleo is my reason for living. She is so precious. I don't want other families to have to go through this."

A Renfrewshire Council spokesperson said: “The safety and welfare of children and young people in our education establishments is our priority. We are aware of this incident and are investigating the matter in line with our policies and procedures. A previous incident was investigated fully.”

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