MORE than a thousand Australian babies and toddlers are sent to hospital each year with injuries sustained in daycare, shocking new data shows.
Confidential hospital statistics reveal 305 NSW children were among the 1076 under-5s hospitalised with injuries from accidents or deliberate harm at childcare centres in 2014-15.
And NSW's 2837 long daycare centres were slapped with a staggering 1077 breach notices for violating regulations last financial year.
Centres were caught flouting child health and safety standards, failing to install smoke alarms and forgetting to carry out criminal background checks on staff.
The high rate of breaches - 38 for every 100 daycare centres - is exposed in a new Productivity Commission report on government services.
It shows that 966 childcare centres in NSW failed to meet the minimum quality standard for children's health and safety or physical environment.
The shoddy standards have been exposed as the cost of childcare has soared. A typical working family now spends more than 10 per cent of household income on childcare fees, even after pocketing government subsidies.
Childcare chews through 11.1 per cent of income for a family earning $115,000 after tax, and 9.3 per cent of the budget for a household earning $175,000.
The median weekly cost of fulltime daycare in NSW is a record $450 a week - and the high cost is forcing some parents to give up work.
Fees have jumped by one-third in eight years, after accounting for inflation.
The report also reveals a shortage of 137,500 childcare places nationally, and a doubling in NSW to 50,000 places.
The report shows 95,700 Australian parents, including 34,700 in NSW, have dropped out of the workforce because childcare is "too expensive''.
It exposes high staff turnover in the industry, with 40 per cent of long daycare staff in the job less than three years.
And it shows one in four daycare workers does not have any qualification to do the job, despite a government requirement that all staff caring for children must have at least a Certificate III in childcare.
"Some breaches can have serious implications for the quality of care provided to children, such as requirements to undertake criminal record checks for staff and requirements to install smoke detectors,'' the PC report says.
It also reveals the rate of regulatory breaches in NSW centres is one-third higher than the national average.
"A high or increasing rate of substantiated breaches does not necessarily mean that a jurisdiction has lower service safety and quality,'' it says.
"It might mean it has a more effective reporting and monitoring regime.''
The "substantiated breaches'' arose from complaints by parents and daycare staff, and do not include those detected in regulatory checks.
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