OFSTED has condemned a "lack of regard for safety" at a nursery after a cupboard door fell off and landed on children during an inspection.
It criticised staff at Mini VIP's Montessori Nursery and Pre-school, in West Croydon, for taking 30 minutes to react to the incident.
A nursery manager said the report was "unfair", adding that such incidents "just happen". Ofsted judged the nursery to be "inadequate" – the lowest rating – and said it must now make urgent improvements.
Inspector Linda Du Preez said managers had not identified key staff weaknesses which result in "concerning breaches of legal requirements that compromise children's welfare and safety".
"During the inspection, staff's poor attention to safety leads to an accident involving a cupboard door falling on children where they are resting," her report, published this week, said.
"Children's safety is compromised as staff fail to react in a timely manner and take 30 minutes to check the area for children to continue to rest in.
"These oversights and seeming lack of regard for children's safety demonstrate that staff do not have a full understanding of the procedures for checking the environment is hazard-free."
The nursery, in the Oshwall Centre in Campbell Road, said no children were hurt in the incident, which occurred during the inspection on March 21.
"Just because a cupboard door falls down randomly you can't say staff have a disregard for safety," said one manager, who refused to be named.
"It's just something that happens. It was checked in the morning and then it fell off in the afternoon, it's just one of those things. To say we took 30 minutes to react is a lie. We removed the children and checked the area. We couldn't have moved any quicker."
Ofsted, which stands by its findings, also criticised staff for claiming the outdoor play area was free of hazards, even though there was a "large" stinging nettle on a pathway.
The manager told the Advertiser: "That's just not true. It was a bush which looked like stinging nettles. Had [the inspector] put her hand on it, she would have realised it wasn't a stinging nettle."
"The report is an unfair reflection of the nursery," she added. "Ofsted was only here for one day. Our parents are happy with the work we do."
Ms Du Preez did note that most of the nursery's 62 children are settled and "enter the nursery smiling and happy".
"They behave well and are eager to learn," she added.
But she said staff write "inaccurate" records of accidents and injuries, adding: "This poor practice means parents receive incorrect information."
Ofsted will re-inspect the nursery within the next 12 months to establish whether its concerns have been acted upon.