Grandmother accidentally leaves toddler in a lift - What happens next is horrifying
What happened to little Yuan Yuan left us horrified and shocked. We share his story as well as tips on keeping your child safe even in everyday situations.
It was a normal day for little Yuan Yuan, barely 2 years old, in Chongqing, southwest China. He was in a lift with his grandmother and he had his beloved little green bike with him.
As the lift doors opened, his grandmother wheeled out the little boy's green bike...when the lift doors abruptly shut with Yuan Yuan inside. Seconds before they closed, a 10-year old girl, wearing a backpack, a light-blue jacket and a pink neck scarf, got in to the lift. She looked like any other schoolgirl.
What happened in the next few minutes, as captured on CCTV cameras and reported by , is shocking, gruesome and horrifyingly unbelievable.
The grainy black and white footage shows the girl carrying the child for a few seconds before slamming him into the ground. As he struggles to get back up she repeatedly kicks him, hits him and stamps on him.
When the lift doors open on the 25th floor she is seen grabbing Yuan Yuan off the metal floor and pushing him out. 'Shanghaiist', an English language Chinese news website, reports that is when the girl allegedly threw the child off the building from either a window or a balcony.
The ground outside of the building had small pools of blood near where the baby was found. It is not known if the 10-year old girl was known to the mother and child or if any of the parties lived in the building.
Yuan Yuan was taken to a nearby hospital. The Beijing News reports that Yuan Yuan is alive, but seriously injured and at the time of writing this, was receiving care in the ICU of the hospital.
According to other reports, the father of the 10-year-old girl says "communication problems" may have led to his daughter's behaviour and that he and his wife's constant scolding of their daughter may have had a negative impact on her psychological wellbeing.
"Police investigations show that she may have kicked the toddler but did not purposely throw him down," the man, surnamed Li, said in reports. "The boy may have fallen down the building because he was in shock."
Mr Li said his daughter loved children and animals and that she told him that she had hit the child because he was making faces at her and wasn't friendly. He says his daughter has had a complete mental breakdown since the incident.
This sickening incident is similar to the UK's James Bulgar case, where two 10-year old boys abducted, tortured and murdered a 2 year old toddler back in 1993.
It's really hard to believe that children could be capable of what can only be described as acts of pure evil. What makes these kids behave like this? It's difficult to pinpoint a single factor, and the answer - if there can be one - would certainly involve complex psychological and social reasons.
For me, as a mother with a young son around the same age as little Yuan Yuan , reading about this story was very difficult. But it forced me to reassess situations and places that I think are 'safe'. We protect our children from obvious dangers, but sometimes, we miss threats to their safety that may not be so obvious.
Precautions to take to keep kids safe
- Parents, always take your kid/kids by the hand when you step out of a lift. Avoid stepping out first, leaving the child inside to come out on his or her own. As with what happened to little Yuan Yuan, lift doors can easily shut unexpectedly fast, trapping your little one inside, alone.
- If your child is old enough, teach him how to press the alarm button if he ever gets trapped alone in a lift.
- Ensure your child stands well away from the lift doors when they are opening or closing to avoid an accident in case the doors shut faster than you expect.
- Always hold your child's hand while traveling on an escalator. A child standing alone could easily lose his balance and topple down.
- Lift toddlers on and off the escalator or hold their hands as they do so. Even many 4-year-olds don't have the the developmental skills to coordinate stepping on and off a moving platform at the right moment. They often jump, making it difficult to maintain their balance.
- Step over the 'combs' when getting on and off. These are the teeth-like projections where the steps appear and disappear, forming a gap that can trap little toes and feet.
- Never loiter after stepping off. Children may be injured if an adult or luggage falls on them if they don't step away from the escalator fast enough.
- ALWAYS keep an eye on your child and teach them to hold your hand at all times when in a shopping centre. In Singapore where things are generally safe, we take out children's safety for granted sometimes, especially in public places. But the truth is that kids are easily distracted and can run off if you take your eyes off them for even a moment.
- Teach your child to go to a 'safe spot' if in a mall you frequent often. This could either be a shop that you go to often and your child is familiar with, or to the reception, which is generally on the first floor. Either way, have a plan before you start shopping and tell your child where he should go should you become separated from each other.
- Always accompany and supervise your child in restrooms. Never leave them out by themselves while you use the toilet. Take them inside with you.
- If your child is old enough, get her to memorise your mobile phone number.
Indoor play centres
- Any indoor play-centre with friendly staff may seem like a really safe place to leave your child to play while you attend to other matters elsewhere. But do not do this - always stay with your child or make sure he has someone with him. Recently, I took my 3 year old son to an indoor play centre and as we were leaving, I noticed a toddler at the main entrance. I noticed earlier that he was playing alone, watched only by a staff member. None of the staff members noticed he had left the play area till I told them. Had someone opened the main door, the little boy could have easily slipped out without anyone noticing.
- If you are leaving your child at an indoor play centre with your helper, give them clear instructions to focus on your child, and not get distracted by their mobile phones, or chatting to other helpers.
Once your child is old enough, it is crucial that you talk to them about 'stranger danger' and what to do if a stranger approaches them.
- Tell your child to scream as loud as she can if a stranger tries to grab her.
- If she is bodily lifted by someone, tell her to kick, scream, bite and scratch as hard as she can.
- Your child should NEVER talk to strangers, or accept gifts, sweets or lifts from someone they don't know. This includes older children and not just adults.
- Many parents make the mistake of telling their kids "I'll call the police if you don't do so and so". Do not teach your child to fear the police. Instead teach them that police are there to help them if they are in trouble.
We don't know if little Yuan Yuan will survive his ordeal - we are certainly hoping he does. We also don't know what triggered the 10-year old girl to behave in such a savage way. In a way, both she and Yuan Yuan are victims.
What this story does teach us is to never take our children's safety for granted. It can only take a few seconds for something we will regret for the rest of our lives to happen.
Do leave a comment and share your thoughts with us on this story.