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IKEA daycare loses track of child

July 25, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Like many parents, The Mitchells put their 3-year-old son in IKEA's daycare room while they shopped at the Costa Mesa store. When they returned they found him wandering unsupervised in the lobby."As I entered the sliding glass doors, I saw my 3-year-old son walking toward me," said Scott Mitchell, Enzo Mitchell's father.

Enzo was not in the designated play area, but wandering in the store lobby unattended.

"Absolutely horrifying. I still am getting choked up thinking about the possibilities of what could have happened if I didn't happen to walk through the door when I walked through the door," said Scott.

"We admit it, it was our mistake. We have turned around and done an investigation...an immediate investigation," said IKEA Store Manager Don Collins.

IKEA officials said the problem started when Enzo and another child were signed in. An employee assigned Enzo and the other child the same number. When daycare workers realized their mistake, they tried to sort out to whom Enzo actually belonged to. Enzo slipped out of the locked area when a worker released another child to their parent.

"We apologize. We're very, very, very sorry to them for what happened. And we bear the responsibility to make sure it doesn't happen to any other child as well," said Collins.

Store officials said they have retrained employees. They also plan to install a large monitor to watch all the children in the area. They will soon begin using special bracelets to identify the children who are left in the play area.

IKEA said nearly 800 children play in the daycare each week. They have said that in their five years of operation, they have never had a problem.

For the Mitchells, however, they are not taking the chance again.

"If we go shopping, he's going in the cart with us. And that's...I've had my scare...I'm done," said Scott.

IKEA said one of the employees involved in the incident was terminated this week. Another employee voluntarily resigned.

 

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