A little boy gets lost at indoor playground in Singapore and his parents got all panicky! How did it happen?
We recently came across this incident on Stomp. It felt a bit scary, because it could so easily happen to any of us parents here in Singapore, considering how often we frequent the malls and indoor playgrounds here.
Little boy gets lost
Apparently, on Feb 18, a mum (who refers to herself as "Ellyxz") and dad, left their 2 kids, a boy aged 3, and a girl aged 2, to play at ‘Happy Castle’, an indoor playground at City Square mall, at around 8 pm.
They then took their 2-month-old baby with them to shop at the supermarket nearby, presuming that their children would be in the good hands of the playground staff. To this mum's shock, when they returned an hour later (at about 9 pm), to pick up the kids, they were unable to find their son!
Turned out that the little boy had somehow managed to sneak out of the premises unnoticed. The daughter was thankfully spotted by another family, who looked after her, as they waited for her mum and dad to return.
Ellyxz and her husband searched a lot but were unable to find their son. Just as they got all distraught and panicky, they heard an announcement from the customer service counter, informing them about their missing son. The dad immediately fetched his son from the counter, and the family were happily reunited.
Mum vents her disappointment
Ellyxz has been quoted by Stomp as saying, "It was our second visit. The first time we tried, the staff assured me that they would take full responsibility and will contact us parents if there was a need for us to come back, so I didn’t know that you needed an adult there for supervision."
She is also disappointed with the indoor playground, "There was only one employee and it was during the peak hours, so there were many kids. After talking to her, I found out that she was new and it was only her second day at work. How can they allow a new person to hold the fort with so many kids around? I couldn’t believe that my son was missing! Why didn’t the employee call me?"
Meanwhile, some valuable life lessons have been learnt by this mum, "I’ve learned to keep a closer eye on my kids now. I would also like to thank the family who helped look after my daughter when we were in distress. Thank you."
Happy Castle clarifies
theAsianparent contacted Happy Castle for their version of things. Shirley, owner of the indoor playground had this to say, "The parents just left without telling anybody. I doubt if even if the children knew that their mum and dad were leaving. We have the footage on our CCTV camera, we can clearly see that the parents were around for 10 minutes at the most, after which they just left abruptly without informing the staff."
"Ultimately, it's the parents responsibility to take care of their kids. And the kids are too young to be left alone like that. Thankfully in this case all ended well, but otherwise I would never advise parents to try their luck like that."
She has also been quoted by Stomp as saying, "We are a playground and not a childcare centre. It cannot be denied that some parents would ask us for help in taking care of their child when they need to leave for a few minutes, but they would tell us which kids, and our staff would tell them whether they are able to help, because sometimes only one or two kids are playing and the staff can manage."
"Happy Castle will strengthen measures and staff training to improve our management from this lesson, but we also hope all parents can share the responsibility to properly ensure that this does not happen again. Thank you."
What we feel
Many big indoor playgrounds are quite okay with the idea of parents leaving their children in the staff's care. But they all have well defined gates and plenty of staff to look after the kids. It is always a good idea to check their policy in advance, and to inform the staff if you do intend to leave. Also inform your child of your plans and give clear and concise instructions.
However, we strongly feel that small kids shouldn't be left alone without parental supervision; especially toddlers, who may not even be able to talk and communicate their needs well. Also, what happens if the little child falls and injures himself, or gets into a fight with the other kids?
In case of small children, always prepare a name card ready with the child's and parent's details. You might even want to hang it on his neck. Rather be safe than sorry. Children should be taught their full names and the names of their parents from young. It is always good to make them memorise their parents phone numbers as well. These measures will help a child in the unlikely event that he gets lost.
If you spot a little one who seems to be lost, do guide him to the nearest customer care centre, and wait with him until he gets reunited with his parents.
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