Missing two-year-old in forest found safe and uninjured

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This little warrior survived by allegedly being resourceful and drinking from clean sources of water.

Sometimes, bringing toddlers outdoors can become a parent’s worst nightmare. Toddlers are notoriously curious, and they have absolutely no sense of danger. As such, they’ll wander off without a second thought. Recently in Japan, this is exactly what happened to a two-year-old toddler out on a walk with his grandfather. He ended up lost in the woods for three days. What child safety facts can we learn from this incident? But first, here’s how it all happened. 

It All Started with a Morning Walk… 

On the morning of 12 August 2018, two year old Yoshiki Fujimoto and his three-year-old brother were accompanied by their grandfather on a morning walk. They were going for a quick dip in the sea to cool down from the hot weather currently affecting most of Japan. 

The beach was abut 400 metres away from their home. After walking about a quarter of the distance, Yoshiki wanted to go home, so he started to toddle back. His grandfather just continued to observe, untroubled by the risk of Yoshiki getting lost.  

However, he never arrived at home, instead walking a different route. Once the family realised he was missing, a massive manhunt ensued. Drones, search dogs, helicopters and at least 140 police officers, rescue personnel and volunteers were deployed to search for him.  

“Yes, I’m Here”: The Miraculous Reply

After days of searching for the little boy, rescue teams were getting more and more disheartened. Then, a miracle happened. 

78-year-old volunteer, Haruo Obata was also in the search party. Yesterday morning(15 August), Mr Obata was searching deep within the woods for the child.

He called out, “Yo-Chan!” And to his absolute amazement, he heard a small voice reply, “I’m here!”

Tracing the source of the sound, Mr Obata found the little one sitting on a rock with his feet dangling in a pool of water in front of him. Little Yoshiki was found, much to the relief of everyone! 

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Haruo Obata (78), left, talking to news reporters about how he found the child. Yoshiki’s grnadfather (66), right, shows his gratefulness to Mr Obata for volunteering to find his grandson.

Apparently, the place where Yoshiki was found, which was above a tangerine orchard, isn’t normally frequented by local people.

After being reunited with his family, Yoshiki was brought to a hospital in Yana for a a checkup.

Fortunately, the doctor assessed that apart from a few tick bites, minor scratches and dehydration, the little warrior was fine.

Thankfully, there were no serious injuries. Hiroyuki Nishihara, an official at the local hospital treating Fujimoto, reassured the public that ” his life isn’t in danger and he will be able to leave the hospital very soon.”

Child Safety Facts to Consider when Bringing Your Toddler Outdoors

The fact that this little guy was able to survive in extreme heat may have been attributed to his resourcefulness, drinking water from nearby streams.

However, most toddlers lack the knowledge to survive in this world and should always be accompanied by an adult. Here are some child safety facts to keep in mind before bringing your little tot outdoors:

  • Always monitor your toddler. Never leave them unsupervised, even if they have a child leash on. They could get lost, or encounter strangers.
  • Don’t bring your toddler outdoors alone. Have at least one other trustworthy adult by your side to watch over your little toddler.
  • Consider using a child leash, if necessary. Remember, though:
    • Child leashes should not be used to guide or lead. Don’t tug on them as though your children are dogs. These leashes are only meant to keep your child from wandering off alone. 
    • Cultivate good habits so that your child knows to stay within line of sight. Don’t depend on a child leash to keep him safe. 
    • Only put the child leash on if your child agrees to do so. If you are concerned  that they might get lost, make sure that they know how to behave safely and appropriately.  
  • Baby-proof your home. If you’re worried about your little one wandering out of your home, do install baby-proof door knobs. You can also apply some outdoor fencing to surround your home. Again, use baby proof-locks to prevent your little tot from wandering beyond the fence.

 

References: Channel News Asia, Kyodo News, Japan Times, Asahi 

Also read:

Missing Japanese toddler due to a ‘punishment’ has been found safe in forest

Baby Proofing 101

Things you must know when child-proofing your home

Baby Proofing your home

To leash or not to leash?