A MUM has removed her three-year-old daughter from a Chester nursery after the tot managed to climb a bookcase which then toppled onto her.

Lisa Roberts said she was shocked to receive a phone call telling her Connie-Mae had been in an accident at Ash Tree Day Nursery in Blacon on the morning of October 11.

She had been told not to rush, so was then horrified when she saw the extent of the swelling around her little girl’s eye.

Miss Roberts, 28, told the Standard: “It is incredibly distressing to know my three-year-old daughter was left unsupervised long enough for this to happen.”

The owner of the nursery, Jason Ashcroft, has “apologised profusely” for what happened and vowed to investigate.

He said he had contacted the manufacturer as the equipment was meant to be “age-appropriate and purpose-built”.

Both he and Miss Roberts have contacted Ofsted to report the matter. However, a spokesman for the education watchdog said they would not comment on individual complaints.

Recounting what happened, pregnant mum-of-two Miss Roberts said she had dropped Connie-Mae off at 9.30am that day and received the phone call at 9.47am.

“I was told that I didn't need to rush and so I arrived approximately 30 minutes after the phone call,” she said. “If I had known how bad it was I would have got a taxi to her straight away.

“I arrived at the nursery around 10.30am and was told that Connie's injury was worse earlier and that it had gone down. They also informed me that Connie had slept for 15 minutes following the accident. No one had administered medication or first aid.

“When I saw my daughter, her eye was incredibly swollen and bruised. Although Connie seemed ok, I felt panicked and took her to the pharmacist to have her checked over. They said that she was ok but if her symptoms worsened to take her to the doctors immediately.”

Miss Roberts, of Stratford Road in Blacon, said she and her partner David Hayden, 39, had returned to the nursery later to discuss the accident with staff and to view the CCTV footage.

She said: “Connie had pulled herself up the back of the bookcase and when she got to the top it tipped and landed on her. It looked as if she may have climbed it before or seen another child do so as she seemed to know what she was doing.

“There were four members of staff in the room yet no one saw Connie climbing and no one saw the accident nor did they get to her quick enough while she was under this bookcase, Connie was left unsupervised at the back of the room.”

She added: “I’m devastated that I have had to remove Connie from the nursery she loved so much and now I fear putting her in any other nursery. I trusted these people to keep my child safe like any parent does and they have failed.”

Mr Ashcroft, who owns and manages the nursery, has apologised to Miss Roberts and stressed an investigation was underway.

He said: “We are entrusted with the safety of over 300 children, and that includes in many cases, the children of our own employees, including my own son, who is of a very similar age.

“With that trust, we must accept complete responsibility for any accidents that occur on our premises.

“This is why we go to extraordinary lengths to ensure each and every child is safe and surrounded by highly-trained and qualified staff, who have the experience to deal with any situation that may occur.

“This fact was recognised at our recent Ofsted inspection, where we were praised for our safety and safeguarding knowledge levels that our staff maintain, and that all children were, as a result, deemed to be ‘safe’.

“There are however, times when accidents happen, and as the founder and owner of the nursery, it is my responsibility to ensure that they occur as infrequently as possible and that all staff know what the protocols and procedures are, should an accident occur and that they follow them to the letter.”

He said he had spoken with Miss Roberts and “apologised unreservedly” for what happened and explained he had taken “total responsibility”.

Mr Ashcroft also stressed the nursery had contacted Ofsted itself by telephone and written a “comprehensive report explaining the details of the accident, including the numbers of staff and children present in the room at the time, the staff’s qualifications, and evidence of the up-to-date training that staff have received, especially with regards to safeguarding and paediatric first aid”.

He said they had removed the bookcase and contacted the manufacturer to find out why it might have collapsed, given that it is purpose-built and supposedly age-appropriate.

The company had now agreed to refund or exchange the piece of equipment, he said.

Mr Ashcroft, who has worked in childcare for 15 years, added: “All staff throughout the setting have been interviewed and reminded of their responsibilities to the children and left under no illusion as to how seriously we take an incident of this nature, and that following the investigation, disciplinary action will be taken, should it be deemed that anyone responded in anything other than a totally professional manner.

“We deeply regret that Miss Roberts and her daughter have suffered as a result of this accident, however we are extremely pleased that the little girl in question, is making a swift and full recovery.”

A spokesman for Ofsted said: “We don’t comment on complaints. However, we take all complaints we receive very seriously and assess them thoroughly to see whether further action is needed.”