Toddler fell to death 2 months after maid saved his life

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Toddler fell to death 2 months after maid saved his life

Postby tankee » Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:23 pm

SINGAPORE - Last April, a toddler was saved as he was about to fall from a fourth-floor balcony. Two months later, he was not so lucky.

Eric Wong Yu Hao, a year and nine months old, fell to his death after squeezing through the bars of the balcony at a Hillview Green condominium in Upper Bukit Timah.

State Coroner Imran Abdul Hamid, while saying he found that the death was accidental on Wednesday, urged those who look after young children to check possible dangers in their homes and put in safety measures. He pointed out that there are online groups offering solutions to make homes safe.

"While I don't think anyone can guarantee that the suggested solutions will be 100 per cent effective, at the very least caregivers can have the peace of mind that what could possibly be done to make the home safe for young children, has been done," he said.

The family's domestic worker, Ms Rebecca Lubas Rallos, cried as she testified how last April, she was in the kitchen when Eric's father, Mr Wong Tse Lap, 60, also came in.

Realising that no one was looking after Eric, she ran into the living room. Finding the toddler halfway through the balcony's bars, she saved him.

She then suggested that the 14cm to 16.5cm gaps between the bars be closed. Mr Wong, a taxi driver, did not respond.

But his wife, Madam Tan Siew Lian, 42, told police that she had instructed Ms Rallos, 27, to place Eric in the baby chair or the pram if she had housework.

On June 1, the maid said she left the couple's only child in the playroom at about 3.30pm to wash a milk bottle in the kitchen.

A few minutes later, she became worried as the child was "too quiet". She called out his name. When she could not find him in the playroom, she went to the balcony, where she saw the child lying on the ground below.

She rushed down, shouting for help, then carried the bleeding child upstairs so as to lock up the house. An ambulance took Eric to the National University Hospital, where he died at 6.45pm of head injuries.

Ms Rallos, who had been working for the family for 1½ years prior to the incident, has been with the Philippine Embassy after the incident. She will be going home soon.
Eric's parents were not at the coroner's court on Wednesday, and Mr Wong declined comment when approached on Wednesday night.

But the tragedy was still fresh on the minds of some Hillview Green residents when The Straits Times visited them on Wednesday evening.

Stock broker Lincoln Lim, 45, remembered rushing home that day when a neighbour told him of the tragedy. The father of two, including a seven-year-old, wanted to make sure the plastic sheets covering the grilles in his home were secure.

"This was an accident that no one wanted to happen. And it's always better to be overly cautious," he said.

Another resident, who wanted to be known only as Satish, said Mr Wong and his wife, who used to frequent the estate's park, have hardly been seen this past year.

He added: "It's unimaginable to have your child go before you. I hope they can recover." ...

http://www.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNe ... 212/2.html

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Re: Toddler fell to death 2 months after maid saved his life

Postby ammonite » Mon Mar 25, 2013 8:03 am

Going by the above account, the parents were clearly at fault for not securing the balcony area. It is dangerous to put a toddler in a pram or high chair while doing housework.

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Re: Toddler fell to death 2 months after maid saved his life

Postby BeContented » Mon Mar 25, 2013 8:24 am

I find it very sad that the 2nd chance given to them was not cherished.
The child has been saved once & something could (& should) have been done to narrow the gap to avoid recurrence. But ......... :sad:

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Re: Toddler fell to death 2 months after maid saved his life

Postby auntiexxx » Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:07 am

I feel that the developer or architect has to bear part of the blame too. :shrug: I personally think the gaps between the bars are a bit too wide, but then again, it also lies on the parents to look into the issue especially since the maid had already alerted them to the wide gaps between the bars. :sad:

An innocent life could have been saved if only the parents had listened to the maid ... :sad:
Last edited by auntiexxx on Mon Mar 25, 2013 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Toddler fell to death 2 months after maid saved his life

Postby Dora1 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:09 am

Clearly, more people have to be aware of the importance of child proofing their house. You can't expect the maid or anyone to keep an eye of the child 24/7. Yeah, and I can't believe that they didn't act after giving a 2nd chance. Maybe child proofing should be included in the pre-natal classes?? Just a suggestion.
But whatever it is, it is devastating to lose a child, esp in this way. RIP......

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Re: Toddler fell to death 2 months after maid saved his life

Postby BeContented » Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:49 am

Dora1 wrote:Clearly, more people have to be aware of the importance of child proofing their house. You can't expect the maid or anyone to keep an eye of the child 24/7. Yeah, and I can't believe that they didn't act after giving a 2nd chance. Maybe child proofing should be included in the pre-natal classes?? Just a suggestion.
But whatever it is, it is devastating to lose a child, esp in this way. RIP......


I agree. We, as the parents especially, holds the key responsibility in child-proofing the house. And at any other place, we are still supposed to be on the lookout, not the maid, not anyone else.

Just to share. Since young, I had never understood why my dad would MIA at a new place, and made us stay somewhere to wait for him (before we had handphones). Be it cinema, restaurant, mall, weddings or whatever. A few years ago, I couldn't take it & finally told him to stay put. It was only then I realised how 'safety conscious' my dad was. He was & still does try to familiarize with the place & taking notes of where are the escape routes & fire exits, just in case, for us :love:

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Re: Toddler fell to death 2 months after maid saved his life

Postby janet88 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:53 am

ammonite wrote:Going by the above account, the parents were clearly at fault for not securing the balcony area. It is dangerous to put a toddler in a pram or high chair while doing housework.


it is very difficult to find a dedicated helper like this one...she is very alert and responsible...a pity both parents ignored her request after the first time she saved the child...this helper is really one in a million.

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Re: Toddler fell to death 2 months after maid saved his life

Postby janet88 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:04 am

if only my maids had been like this one...i lost count of the number of times i remind them that safety is top priority. installing window grilles is crucial when there are young children at home.

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Re: Toddler fell to death 2 months after maid saved his life

Postby 路人甲 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:42 am

All is needed is to close the living room window and the child will not be able to get out to the balcony.

Too late to dish out advice....child is gone.

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Re: Toddler fell to death 2 months after maid saved his life

Postby nms1 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 11:04 am

Those who are trying to blame the developer are pointing fingers in the wrong direction. Not everyone has children so they cannot be expected to build everything to those standards. It is the parents' responsibility.

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