By Khushwant Singh and Daryl Chin
The Straits Times
Saturday, Mar 23, 2013
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."
We stand out from other maid agency!
We put our hearts into serving our clients. By understanding our patrons' requirements, we choose and stringently select the most suitable. Upon the domestic helper's arrival in Singapore, we screen their capabilities in terms of chores and language skills. Pinpointing the maid weakness, we will reinforce what they lack in. We do re-training if needed when employers highlight issues. Based on the necessary issues, we will commence our correction training. As each household is essentially different, hence we will customise our training to fit your needs. Your problems are our problems. We will see to it that we are able to serve you, with the best possible answer we come up with. We comprehend that you ought to get the well deserved break. Leave it to FCMaid. We are here for you! Come to us for a consultation, we will be all ears.
Call us now!
--->Click here before calling.
Price or Value?
Or SMS us now!
+65 9866 5555
Please enter your name and mobile number
"Successful Maids With Sincere Hearts"
" Well-Trained by Well Trainers"
Licence No. 13C6312
Strictly by appointment only
Monday - Sunday
Including Public Holidays
Please Call +65 6100 8860 for appointment.
Please SMS +65 9866 5555 for appointment.
Frondosa City Employment Agency
|Operating Hours||:||Strictly by appointment only, please call/SMS before coming|
|Address||:||BLK 56 Marine Terrace #01-255
Marine Terrace Haven
|Important||:||Click here before calling.
Price or Value?
|Tel||:||+65 6448 8860 / +65 6100 8860|
|Fax||:||+65 6826 4043|
|SMS||:||+65 9866 5555|