A teacher at a kindergarten in Jinan, Shandong province, was detained on Friday (April 13) after being suspected of abusing a four-year-old boy who suffered severe skin burns from hot water, according to local police.
The 28-year-old teacher, known by her surname Yu, dragged the boy into a boiler room on March 23 and reprimanded him, according to a statement by Tianqiao district public security bureau on Friday.
The boy, surnamed Tian, was burned by hot water, but how his injury was caused is still under investigation, according to the statement.
The teacher has been detained on the charge of child abuse, it said.
Thepaper.cn reported that a video clip taken from a surveillance camera in the kindergarten, which the boy's father acquired from the kindergarten, showed the boy was forced into the boiler room and stayed there for about five minutes after misbehaving on the playground.
The father said he was told by the kindergarten that Yu "accidentally" knocked the boy into a big bucket that held boiled water when she heard someone knocking on the boiler room door, but there was no surveillance camera in the boiler room.
A police officer in charge of publicity with the Tianqiao district public security bureau declined to confirm the details of the case when reached by China Daily on Friday.
The boy, with burns to 20 per cent of his skin, was sent to the intensive care unit after emergency treatment at the Children's Hospital of Shandong University on the day of the incident. He was transferred to Jinan Central Hospital the next day, where he was considered in critical condition.
Jinan education authority said that it has urged the district education department to spare no efforts in treating the boy and thoroughly investigating the incident.
An inspection of kindergarten teachers' ethics and the safety conditions in kindergartens has been launched across the Tianqiao district.
The case came after a number of child abuse allegations shocked the country last year and pushed education authorities to pay attention to preschool education.
In one case, a female teacher surnamed Liu from the RYB Education New World Kindergarten in Beijing was arrested in December after the procuratorate accused her of using needles to "discipline" children.
In another case, eight people of the daycare centre of Ctrip, an online travel agency, were arrested on charges of child abuse in Shanghai.