Children were 'force-fed' by nursery staff
A CHILDREN'S nursery, where youngsters were force-fed out-of-date food, was yesterday facing possible closure following a detailed investigation by the Care Commission.
Officers from the welfare watchdog were called in to investigate the All Stars Nursery in the Woodside area of Aberdeen following complaints about the facility, understood to have been made by a number of worried parents.
The Care Commission yesterday confirmed that the complaints against the nursery had been upheld and legal action was being taken against the owners of the nursery.
A spokesman for the Care Commission said: "We have fully upheld a complaint against this service in relation to providing children with out-of-date food and forcing children to eat.
"We will now be taking formal legal enforcement action against this service and we are currently considering the options available to us under the Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001.
"In the meantime, we have been monitoring the service extremely closely and visiting daily to ensure the welfare of the children still using the service."
Diane Ingram, 21, whose son Rikki, aged two, attended the nursery, said she had been left feeling sick after she was contacted by Care Commission officials and told her son had been forced to eat a grape.
Ms Ingram, a shop worker from, Tillydrone, said: "They phoned and said some children had been force-fed. The woman said they had been investigating since Wednesday and had been interviewing staff.
"She said a woman at the nursery had put a grape into Rikki's mouth and he spat it out - he doesn't like grapes. She put it in his mouth again and put her hand over his mouth and he got sick. I have not been able to sleep thinking about it."
She added: "I am disgusted that the nursery is still open and that children are still going there despite what has happened.
"It should have been closed down immediately - as soon as this came to light. I am just horrified by what they did. I pay 145 a week for them to take proper care of him.
"After I was called by the Care Commission, things started clicking into place. Rikki started covering his mouth and running away when we tried to get him to eat something he did not like the look of."
A spokesman for Grampian Police confirmed the force was aware of the complaint but said the matter was in the hands of the Care Commission.
The owners of the Don Street nursery have refused to comment on the Care Commission investigation.
Dr Nadja Reissland, a child psychologist at Durham University, claimed that force-feeding young children could affect them for the rest of their lives.
Dr Reissland said: "If you force-feed a child they may refuse to eat.
" I think that if a child does not like the food then you need to find an alternative. Trying to control a child's food intake rather than letting the child control it themselves does not work.
"If you force a child to eat, it could have problems and distort the child's attitude to food for the rest of its life.
"If a parent or a worker feels anxious around food, then the child can be too. I would add however, that there has to be balance and people caring for children have a responsibility to feed them."
CATALOGUE OF DANGEROUS FAILINGS IN CHILDCARE
SCOTLAND'S care watchdog has highlighted a number of dangerous failings at nurseries in recent years.
In 2005, the Care Commission called for urgent improvements and reprimanded managers at a pre-school playgroup after electric wiring was left exposed.
Last June, ministers were urged to speed up publication of plans for the future of childcare after cases of children being restrained and nursery owners failing to carry out criminal record checks on staff. The month before, the Care Commission announced spot checks and a hygiene standards review at a nursery following an outbreak of E coli. Poor hygiene at the Careshare nursery at Dunfermline's Lauder College was blamed for allowing the spread of the disease. The watchdog said nine of the group's 21 Scottish nurseries had been criticised over hygiene and infection control.
In all, 34 improvement notices, which order immediate action on serious problems, were issued to nurseries in the last four years.
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