A little boy has just lost his life, in the saddest way possible.
Boy forgotten in school van dies of heatstroke
According to The Straits Times, on Friday, 21 April, six-year-old Muhammad Iqram Danish was on his way to a kindergarten in Malaysia by school van, with three other kids. It was afternoon time, and he happened to doze off in the back seat of the van.
When the van arrived at the kindergarten, the other kids alighted. But Muhammad, who was still sleeping, was left forgotten.
The driver, unaware of the sleeping child in the van, drove back home. He then left the vehicle locked in its parking lot. He realised his folly only after a good three hours. But by then, it was too late; the boy had died of heatstroke.
Gombak Deputy OCPD Mohd Marzuki Mohd Mokhtar has been quoted as saying, “He was already unconscious when he was discovered at the back of the van at 5 p.m. He (the van driver) rushed Iqram to a clinic, and later, the Sungai Buloh Hospital, where the boy was pronounced dead due to heatstroke.”
Police are currently investigating the case as one of child neglect.
Boy forgotten in school van: How to avoid a similar tragedy
When this writer first read this news, she was reminded of that scary day three years back when she received a call from the Bishan police station in Singapore, “Your daughter has just been found in a locked up van in a carpark at Bishan. Listen to us, write down this address, don’t think, just take a cab and come, NOW!”
She still remembers her voice trembling, and hands trying hard not to shake, when she jotted down that address. What could have possibly happened? After all, she had seen her little one clamber on to the school van that morning only 2.5 hours back?
It later turned out that the little one had dozed off, and nobody in the “International” school had bothered to check the van for any sleeping children. The driver had then driven home to finish her errands, and the van was left parked outside in the sweltering heat.
Doctors at the KK Hospital had informed then that the three-year-old girl was lucky to have escaped a heatstroke. Even today, the mind is too scared to imagine what would have happened if an alert passerby hadn’t noticed the distressed and confused child, and called up the SCDF.
The SCDF had to cut through the vehicle’s glass to rescue her.
Again, there are some things which are totally beyond us, and it really is impossible to safeguard ourselves against every perceivable tragedy. These pointers however, are the best we can do to protect our little ones against such unfortunate happenings:
Make sure your child’s school bus has a helper
According to the LTA’s rules and regulations, bus attendants must be present on ALL school buses used to carry children to childcare centres or kindergartens, as well as for buses that are authorised to carry more than 30 children. Bus attendants must be a Singapore citizen, at least 18 years old, and hold a Bus Attendant’s Vocational Licence.
The bus attendant or helper will be able to ensure that all children have alighted from the bus. So, if you notice that your child’s school has been flouting the rules by not been employing bus attendants, make sure you alert the authorities.
Look before you lock
Drivers, especially parents, must get in the habit of checking the backseat every time they arrive at their destination. We must all be prepared for forgetfulness. In this age of information overload and constant messaging, the mind is constantly fatigued and stressed. An overtaxed brain can fail you. Which is why it is all the more important to double check on the kids.
Lastly, if you see a child inside a locked up vehicle, don’t just walk away. Never shy away from informing the authorities. It could save a life.
Source: The Straits Times, Channel NewsAsia, LTA
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