Singaporean boy, 5, dies after father repeatedly scalds him with hot water

Singaporean boy, 5, dies after father repeatedly scalds him with hot water

A young Singaporean boy dies after facing abuse from his father. The line between discipline and abuse should never be crossed. Here are some things you can do to ensure you never subject your child to abuse.

This article is from our archives, and shows that the the line between discipline and abuse should never be crossed. In this case, the damage was irreparable...

The abuse

As reported by The New Paper (TNP), a 24-year-old father allegedly caused the death of his 5-year-old son by repeatedly throwing and splashing hot water on him.

The incident took place on Saturday (22 Oct) at their home in Toa Payoh. It is said that the abuse took place over the course of the day, from the afternoon to just before 9pm at night.

How were the police notified?

The child died the next day at KK Women and Children’s Hospital. It is thanks to the hospital that the case was brought to the attention of the police.

The hospital made the call after the child was admitted and they felt that the injuries he suffered looked like they were caused intentionally.

The verdict

While we know that the case has been classified as an unnatural death, police are not allowed to comment further as the case is scheduled for mention on the 31st of October.

The boy is said to have 3 other siblings, the oldest of schooling age and the youngest still in a pram - as per information given by the victim's neighbours to TNP.

Child abuse or discipline?

The debate between what is abuse and what is discipline has been and will continue to, go on for a long time. Our elders, with more traditional mindsets, may still believe that caning or smacking your child is acceptable.

However, there are many others who believe that these methods are not a solution when it comes to disciplining your child. Essentially, it comes down to your personal parenting style, what works best for you and your child.

Having said this, there are also clear lines that must not be crossed. In the case reported above, we are not given any background to what the child might have done - however, it is still clear that splashing hot water on a child should never be the answer.

Check yourself


  • When you discipline. Take some time to cool off after your child has made you angry. By not reacting immediately, you are not allowing your anger and frustration to take over your method of discipline. Acting in anger is dangerous and you could lose control of yourself and end up hurting or traumatising your child, instead of teaching him or her a lesson.
  • Talking instead of being physical. Instead of trying to scare your child into listening to you, talking to them could be a more effective method of getting them to understand what they did wrong. By explaining to them why you are angry and why their actions are unacceptable, your child is less likely to act out.
  • Never act to cause harm. Some parents may deem it acceptable to smack a child on the wrist or bottom as a form of discipline. This helps the child understand that they should not repeat their actions or they will face the consequence.
  • Bear in mind. If this is your method of disciplining your child, always be mindful not to be acting with intention of harming your child. Instead, you are simply showing them that their actions bear a consequence.


You should always try to:

  • Take the time to cool down. As mentioned, acting on impulse whilst you are angry, could lead to you causing more damage than good. Your child is still learning and will make mistakes.
  • Create a comfortable relationship. A child who feels more comfortable talking to you regarding the things that they are unhappy about, is less likely to act out.

Remember, anger is an ugly thing and while your child does need to be taught and disciplined, there are lines that should not be crossed. There is no excuse for causing grievous hurt to your child. Even if it does not lead to the awful consequence faced by the family in the case above, it could leave your child with lifelong trauma.

Source: The New Paper


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Written by

Sonia Pasupathy

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