4-month-old in Singapore suffers abuse at hands of maid
A maid has just been sentenced to jail in Singapore for hitting a baby. What were her reasons? How do you know that your baby is safe?
She slapped the baby, and pushed his face hard, using her index finger. It did not stop there. She then proceeded to slap the soles of his feet, even pushing him against the sofa, and shoving a towel on his face, in front of his mouth. The baby hit by maid was only four months old.
His mummy had wanted to know if he had woken up. He was fast asleep when she had left home, to take her daughter to tuition class. Little did she know that she would witness such a horror on the live feeds of CCTV footage on her phone.
Reported to the police
The Straits Times reports that, the above incident happened on April 25. The mummy made a police report 5 days later. The maid has already admitted to the abuse. Apparently, she had vent her own personal frustrations on the baby.
The maid, a mother of four, had this to say in her defence, "I committed this offence as I was under a lot of stress during that time due to some marital problem that I had with my husband."
What is even more disturbing is that, she had committed this cruel act on an innocent, defenceless victim, even though his parents had treated her very well over the last three years.
She gets punished
The maid has just been sentenced to two months of jail. She claims to be deeply regretful of her actions. She has sought forgiveness from the court and her employers, and has pleaded for leniency.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Samuel Koh, observed that she had hit the little baby on the vulnerable parts of his body. We must make sure that the very young and the elderly are protected from this type of abuse, opined District Judge Low Wee Ping.
How to make sure your baby is safe with your maid
Our mummy in this case may not have known about the abuse, if she had not checked her live feed. How do we know for sure if our baby is well taken care of? Especially if the baby is too young to talk or communicate? Here are some pointers:
• CCTV Cameras
These days we have the luxury of knowing what's happening in our homes, even when we are on the go. It is however important to let the maid know of the existence of such a camera, lest she complains of breach of privacy.
Don't stick to fixed timings. Come home early once in while to see what's really happening. One of my friends came home earlier than expected one day, only to realise that the maid had taken her baby out, to meet her boyfriend!
• Observe your baby for warning signs
Monitor your baby. Is he sleepier than normal or not feeding well? Check his body for any signs of bruising. Pay attention when he seems scared around the maid.
• Lay out the rules
Be strict about house rules, such as not entertaining friends at your house when alone with baby, or taking the baby outside without your approval. You might also want to specify the rules for using her handphone.
• Don't overload your maid
Many a time, the maid vents her frustrations on the baby because she's too stressed or tied up with her work. Sit with your maid, and make sure she's comfortable with the tasks at hand. Discuss on a timetable that you can follow daily. Make sure that she is healthy, and has enough sleep and energy for all her tasks.
• Communication and training
Wherever possible, write down specific instructions to be followed, and put it up on the wall, or on the fridge. You might even want to take some time off work to train your maid in the initial days, until she gets used to your home environment.
• Encourage honesty
Always encourage your maid to be honest with you. So if your baby falls down or hits himself somewhere, ask your maid for specific details and encourage her to be honest about it.
• Experience matters
When on the lookout for someone to take care of your little one, always check if she has prior experience in doing so. Inexperienced hands may lack the maturity and patience to deal with your baby. Talk to referees and previous employers, before you take the big step.
• Give constructive feedback
If you are not happy with what's happening, instruct her without scolding. Praise her for every good work done. It will spur her to do better.
• Never abuse your maid
Do not abuse your maid, be it physically or verbally. It is inhuman and totally against the law. Plus they might get vengeful, and take it out on your children.
Source : The Straits Times
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