File picture: Pixabay

Washington - Three babies and two adults were slashed during an early-morning assault at a suspected illegal childcare centre in New York City on Friday, police said.

A 52-year-old woman who works there as a "babysitter/worker" was arrested after assault which took place in the Queens neighbourhood at around 3:30 am, a police spokesman told AFP. 

The suspect attacked two baby girls and a baby boy, leaving one of the girls in serious condition, police said, 

One of the adults hurt in the attack worked there, while the other was the father of one of the babies. 

None of the victims' lives were in danger, police said.  

Officers found the suspect in the basement of the centre with self-inflicted cuts to her wrists.

She has not yet been charged.

"It looks to be an illegal" childcare facility, apparently for members of the city's Asian community, the police spokesman told AFP. 

"We're unsure of its legality at this time."

It was not immediately clear how many other children were at the centre at the time of the assault.