6-year-old Singapore girl dies after being left alone in hotel pool
"What was singularly lacking was adult supervision."
A really sad news. A 6-year-old girl died after nearly drowning in a hotel pool in Sentosa. Her granduncle had left the child unattended in a pool for five minutes with a swimming float, on the assumption that she knew how to swim.
The tragedy occurred on 7 Oct 2018 at Sentosa's Festive Hotel , and the coroner's findings were released on 15 Apr 2019.
6-year-old Andrea Hailey Tan Yan Ying had stayed at the Festive Hotel in Resorts World Sentosa in October 2018, with her grandmother, granduncle and her granduncle's 3-year-old son.
On 7 October, the family went to the swimming pool on the third floor. Andrea's granduncle, Mr Ong Cheng Chye, took the kids to the kids' pool first, which was just 0.5 m deep. Her grandmother, Madam Ong Kim Tee, sat near the pool. The two children had swimming floats which they wore around their torsos.
After some time, Mr Ong took the kids to the adult pool, which was 1.2 m deep. He was unaware that Andrea, who was 1.18m tall, did not know how to swim.
He later took his son to the jacuzzi, without informing Andrea. Soon after, Madam Ong noticed Andrea's float drifting across the pool. To her horror, she saw her granddaughter fully submerged inside the water.
She shouted for help and Mr Ong jumped in and brought Andrea out. By then, she was unconscious.
A witness performed CPR, and paramedics rushed the child to Singapore General Hospital. She was later transferred to KK Women's and Children's Hospital, but sadly, died 10 days later, on Oct 17.
The cause of death was brain damage and pneumonia following near-drowning.
While delivering her findings, the State Coroner Kamala stressed that, "What was singularly lacking was adult supervision."
A child who is unable to swim must always be accompanied by an adult in the swimming pool and be kept within arm's reach and in line of sight."
"A flotation device like a swimming float is not a substitute for constant, vigilant, adult supervision. The float may come dislodged and float away leaving the child stranded. Even if a child has some swimming ability, the risk of drowning is not completely removed."
Mums and dads, this tragedy is a reminder to never leave a child unattended in a pool or pool area. Do take note of these safety tips:
Never leave your children unsupervised even for a second
It is very important that you keep an eye on your kids at all times. If you want to leave the pool, bring your kids with you.
Never think that someone else is watching over them. Don’t let them swim if nobody can look after them. Floaters are not substitutes for supervision.
Set limits as soon as you and your family arrive at the pool. Tell your kids that they can only get into the pool when you are with them.
Help your kids learn swimming safety skills
Your toddlers should learn how to relax in water and to hold their breath when under water in case of emergencies. It would also help if they could learn how to recover their breath and swim to the side of the pool when they start drowning. This will really be helpful just in case your kid goes into the pool without your knowledge.
Keep an eye on kids even during swimming lessons
It is important that parents keep an eye on their children all the time, even during swimming lessons. Avoid reading, using the phone and using the time for socialising.
It is recommended that parents be at a close distance from their children, keeping them at arm's reach and within sight at all times.
There have been cases, where children who were otherwise good swimmers got panicky in water and drowned.
Contrary to what we see in movies, drowning is very often a silent killer. Victims may not kick and scream.
The child goes in and breathes instinctively. Water gets into the lungs. It can happen in seconds. What is scary is, children can drown in less than a minute, in just inches of water.
Do not be too complacent even if your children know how to swim
A large percentage of drowning cases happens to children who have had swimming lessons. Toddlers who accidentally fall into a pool will immediately panic and forget everything that they’ve learned about swimming.
If your child jumps into a pool and starts to drown, dive in and get him or her out as quickly as you can
This advice may seem very silly, but many children die because their parents panic and freeze when they see their child drowning.
If you have a pool in your backyard, make sure that you put child-safe locks on your doors
This is so your children will not be able to go to your pool on their own. Install a fence around your pool to prevent them from jumping into it unsupervised. Make sure that you remove objects that they can use to climb over the fence.
Put away toys, especially those with wheels, away from the pool area
Your children might accidentally fall into the pool while playing with these.
Children who cannot swim should have floaters just in case they jump into the pool while you are not looking
A child may enter or fall into the deep end of the pool unnoticed, without any splashing or screaming.
Again, it is also important to note that these devices are just buoyancy aids, they are not drown-proof. Adult-supervision is required at all times.