Experts warn of dead tree danger
Safety warnings have been issued by arborists and childcare experts after a falling tree left four Auckland toddlers hospitalised with head injuries.
The four children were injured, one critically, when a tree fell down at Discoveries Educare in Newmarket.
Tree experts have warned of the danger of dead trees saying it should be the property owner’s responsibility to get them checked.
The Early Childhood Council has also cautioned childcare centres to ‘‘take extra care with large trees’’. It is not clear what state the tree which fell at Discoveries Educare was in.
Tree consultant Brad Cadwallader said the tree which fell appeared, from images, to be a Eucalyptus and its lack of leaves meant it may have been dead.
‘‘If an arborist looked at the tree in the last two and three years, they would point out it was dead and needs urgent removal,’’ he said.
He suspects there may have been damage to the root system which made the tree die out.
‘‘Most lay people might not know it’s a problem, unless you have some- one who knows something about trees.’’
He said trees should be regularly inspected, and could be trusted if they proved healthy.
‘‘Healthy trees don’t tend to fall over,’’ he said.
Seth Thompson, president of the NZ Arboricultural Association, agrees that people should take responsibility for their trees.
‘‘Fortunately, harm or injury from trees is extremely low,’’ he said.
‘‘However, it is important to recognise that it is a duty of care for tree owners to ensure their trees are both healthy and safe.’’
Early Childhood Council president Theresa Dodd said the accident was ‘‘very unexpected’’ and that she had never heard of children being injured by falling trees at New Zealand early childhood education centres before.
Childcare centres are required to check hazards daily, under current regulations.
Dodd said that her council would advise its members to include large trees in their hazard management routines from now on.
The Early Childhood Council is set to examine the causes of the accident, Dodd said.