Pictured: Childcare worker Bianca Reynolds
A childcare worker who was one of two staff on the bus where a little girl almost died after she was left for six hours is beside herself and ‘going through a tough time’.
Le Smileys Early Learning Centre director Bianca Reynolds is hunkering down with her mother and sister at her home in Gracemere, in Queensland’s Rockhampton region.
‘This is a horrible situation for anybody,’ her protective sister Emily told Daily Mail Australia. ‘She’s going through a really tough time.’
Ms Reynolds was reportedly on the mini bus which picked up three-year-old Nevaeh Austin from her home about 9am on Wednesday morning for the school pick-up.
Police are now investigating how both Ms Reynolds and her colleague came to forget about Nevaeh, who was the only child on the bus at the time.
One of Ms Reynold’s colleagues found Nevaeh unconscious beside her belongings on the bus when they returned about 3pm to begin drop offs.
The three-year-old has improved significantly since she was transferred to Brisbane Children’s hospital and has been ‘giggling, squealing and eating ice cream’ in hospital.
It’s a miraculous recovery for a little girl who just two days ago was given ‘a 5 to 10 per cent chance of survival’, according to her grandmother Pamela Parker.
Le Smileys Early Learning Centre director Bianca Reynolds is hunkering down with her mother and sister at her home in Gracemere, in Queensland’s Rockhampton region
Ms Reynolds was reportedly on the mini bus which picked up three-year-old Nevaeh Austin from her home about 9am on Wednesday morning for the school pick-up
The first photo of the toddler in recovery (pictured) has emerged as her father made a visit to her in the Queensland Children’s Hospital
A staff photograph on the wall of the reception in the daycare lists Ms Reynolds as a ‘director’ and ‘nominated supervisor’
Ms Parker says she and the rest of Nevaeh’s family now want answers as to how a task as mundane as the school round pick up could go so horribly wrong.
Ms Reynolds, a mother herself, has worked at Le Smileys for six years, starting as an apprentice fresh out of university in 2016.
A staff photograph on the wall of the reception in the daycare lists Ms Reynolds as a ‘director’ and ‘nominated supervisor’.
She is one of five staff in the picture, including the owner.
A former Le Smileys director said she hired Ms Reynolds because of her clear passion for children and their development.
Three-year-old Nevaeh Austin (pictured) was unresponsive when found on the bus at a childcare centre
Nevaeh Austin (pictured) is now awake but remains in a critical condition in hospital
Ms Reynolds has always loved children and in a 2016 interview said she would care for children even when she was in primary school.
She ‘always knew’ she would go into childcare.
Police have not yet laid any charges but refuse to rule out doing so. They’re still investigating the incident and returned to the childcare on Friday to conduct further testing on the van.
Ms Parker said while she wouldn’t want to hinder the investigation, she can’t fathom what went through the minds of staff on Wednesday morning.
‘You would at least on your last drop off or back to the daycare, you’d actually get in the back of the van and make sure there’s no bags, toys, no bottles, certainly no children,’ she said.
‘That should have been first and foremost in the front of their minds, check the bus.’
Neveah is in a stable condition now, breathing on her own as her grandmother is set to join her at the Queensland Children’s Hospital on Friday afternoon.
Forensic police officers (pictured) paid particular attention to the glass windows on the driver’s side of the van during investigations on Thursday
The family’s of Nevaeh Austin (grandmother Pamela Parker, left, and father Shane Austin, right) said they have spoken to their little girl since the incident as she continues to fight for life in hospital
Officers worked late on Thursday night to examine the van, which has been forensically tested but not yet removed from the day care centre.
A child’s booster seat was visible as officers took pictures from multiple angles, jotted down notes and discussed their findings among one another.
A temperature recording camera appeared to be placed in the locked van at one stage. It’s understood police hoped to gauge an estimate of how hot it may have been inside the van for the six hours Nevaeh was trapped inside.
Temperatures peaked at 30C in Rockhampton on Thursday – just one degree warmer than it was on Wednesday. Estimates suggest the interior of a car could have reached 56C after just 2 hours in direct sunlight.
As the sun set, police continued to photograph the interior and exterior of the van using a high technology 3D laser scanner to exactly replicate the conditions met by the driver, her colleague and Nevaeh on Wednesday.
They paid particular attention to the glass windows on the driver’s side of the van.
A police officer is seen photographing a van in which a toddler was left for six hours
The family of Nevaeh Austin (pictured) are now seeking answers as to how the incident could have happened
A sign out the front of the school boasts of having a pick-up and drop-off service, which centre owner Michelle O’Rourke revealed on Thursday would be permanently suspended in the wake of this latest tragedy.
Just steps away from where the van was parked there are more signs warning of the dangers of leaving children in hot cars.
‘Never leave children alone in a car,’ one sign reads.
‘Four-and-a-half minutes inside of a car could be as high as 70 degrees.’
The warning also outlines health risks, including heat stress, dehydration, brain injury, serious kidney damage, and death.
‘Always check your back seat is free of passengers before leaving your car,’ the sign reads.
Ms O’Rourke sent an email to families on Thursday morning to inform them that school would be closed until at least the end of the week.
Just steps away from where the van was parked there are more signs warning of the dangers of leaving children in hot cars (pictured)
A temperature recording camera appeared to be placed in the van by police (pictured)
Meanwhile inside the centre, three plain clothes detectives were sifting through administrative documents and photographing the area behind the reception desk.
Police tape blocks both the entrance to and the exit from Le Smileys and investigations are expected to continue for at least the next few days.
Earlier on Thursday, the youngster’s aunt, Christy Atta-Singh, opened up about her heartache.
‘Thank you to everyone that has messaged, called or offered help at this horrendous time. It’s a disheartening time for all involved,’ she wrote on Facebook.
‘Vaeh has Austin in her blood so is fighting her little heart out, and has been raised by a tough woman.’
‘It’s gut wrenching seeing and being bedside to such an innocent child.’
Ms Atta-Singh said her niece is ‘in the best hands’ and has ‘all the love and support in the world’.
Police officers are pictured investigating the scene at Le Smileys Early Learning Centre in Gracemere, Queensland on Thursday