Although this happened sometime back, the message to remind parents that they should choose helpers carefully stays relevant. Here are 5 safety tips to bear in mind when choosing a child carer.
Mrs Andrade's story
It seemed like a normal night for Mrs Monnette Andrade, 32, as she was gazing out of the window of her flat in Choa Chu Kang, when she reportedly saw something unusual in the car park below her seventh floor flat. A woman, clad in t-shirt and shorts, was in the open air car park and dragging a black trolley suitcase. The other thing she was holding was a baby:
"It was a really strange sight.” Mrs. Andrade said and noticed that “I could see the child's butt.”
Naturally, the sight made Mrs. Andrade more curious, "At first, I thought she was a maid trying to flee the country. But why was she carrying a kid?" The housewife watched on as the screaming maid proceeded to walk in circles around the carpark. All of a sudden the maid appeared to faint.
Residents spring into action
It was reported that when the maid fainted, a passing car had to brake to a halt to avoid hitting the her and the baby. This incident set off a chain of events:
The baby, who Mrs Andrade guessed to be about a year old, was crawling near the maid's feet, with the suitcase beside her. The maid was still lying on the road, as a woman picked up the baby and took him towards one of the blocks.
Mrs Andrade commented, "I was worried for the child. Once I saw the lady take him away, I knew he was safe and I stopped watching."
Another resident at the scene, Mrs Joyce Tan, aged 38, said she was with her friend at the void deck when she heard the maid screaming: "The maid was on the ground, and a man and his son approached her from the back.
"She (the maid) quickly got up and ran towards the carpark exit, screaming the whole time."
It turned out that the father and son were the maid's neighbours. The duo gave chase and caught up with her. They pinned her down and asked a passer-by to call the police. As they waited for the police to arrive, the maid continued to struggle.
Mrs Tan said: "She (the maid) kept retaliating, kicking, punching, biting. She was very violent."
A foiled runaway attempt?
When police officers arrived 15 minutes later they used cable ties to bind the maid's hands and feet. But apparently this did not silence her:
"Throughout all this, she kept screaming in her own language," said Mrs. Tan, who did not understand what the maid was saying, but heard from her neighbours that she had wanted to go to the airport to return to her country, as the maid is from Indonesia.
When the ambulance arrived, paramedics used cloth to wrap the lower half of the maid’s body before carrying her into the vehicle.
When approached by The New Paper, the maid's employers did not want to comment.
5 safety tips when choosing a child carer
It may never be known what made the maid act in the way she did, but it pays to choose your child carer wisely.
1. Ask friends and other parents you know for child carer recommendations.
2. Ensure a potential child carer can give you references.
3. Make sure they understand how many children they would be expected to look after, the children’s ages and any special problems relating to your children.
4. Ask yourself if your child carer has the patience required to look after a child in difficult circumstances for example, if the child is unwell or starts crying?
5. Trust your instincts; if anything about the child carer makes you uneasy then your child will feel.