Boy, 4, dies after being locked in school bus for hours

A 4-year-old boy from Wuhan died after being locked in a school bus for hours on May 24.

The boy was a student of XingXing Kindergarten in the Jiangxia district of Wuhan, Hubei province. On the morning of May 24, he was one of eight children taken to the kindergarten in the school bus.

However, he was left in the car while other children were brought to classrooms due to the negligence of the driver, surnamed Dai. Dai, who is a part-time driver, went on to drive the vehicle to his workplace and parked it in the parking lot.

At about 3pm, the boy was found lying unconscious in the vehicle. He died later, after rescue efforts failed.

The driver and the principal of the kindergarten were detained for negligence leading to the boy's death.

After the incident, the education bureau of Jiangxia is launching a sweeping safety inspection over private kindergartens in the district and pledged to strengthen management of all vehicles used to transport children.

According to the bureau, the kindergarten in question has not obtained a certificate for preschool education. A parent of a child in the kindergarten said he chose the school because it was cheap and close to his home, despite knowing the kindergarten has no certificate.

Feng Guilin, a researcher with the Hubei Academy of Social Science, said as China loosened its family planning policy allowing couples to have two children, there is a growing demand for preschool education.

He said the tragedy reflects poor supervision over kindergartens and reflects a lack of preschool education resources.

A survey by Southwest University in 2016 shows the number of preschool-age children in China will reach its peak in 2021 - 15 million - and it is estimated there will be a shortfall of 110,000 kindergartens and three million teachers and childcare workers.