Toddler Found Dead at Foot of Ang Mo Kio Block Was Left at Home Alone, Coroner Says
It was a tragic misadventure that could have been avoided.
Despite countless warnings to never leave young children at home alone, for whatever, such practices continue to take place.
In February, a 3-year-old boy was found dead at the foot of a block in Ang Mo Mio having been left alone in their seventh-floor flat, a coroner found on Tuesday (Aug 18).
The cause of death was due to multiple injuries sustained from the fall.
Toddler Found Dead At Foot Of Ang Mo Kio Block
The toddler, who lived with his grandparents at a block in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1, was still sleeping in the morning of February 18 when his grandmother had to leave the house for work.
His grandfather was overseas for work at that time. Otherwise, he would have been the one to look after the boy.
Unable to wake the boy from his sleep, the grandmother who works as a stall assistant in the coffee shop downstairs, decided to leave him alone at home—and reportedly did so for the first time.
While she reportedly left him at home with the main door shut, both the door and the main gate were unlocked, with only a padlock hooked onto it.
It was said that she planned to return home at 7 am that morning, after setting up at the stall at 5.30 am. She also intended to bring the toddler to a childcare centre at 8 am before returning to the stall.
However, the fateful incident happened an hour after she left for work.
A loud thud caught the attention of their neighbour who turned to look out of the window. She found the boy lying motionless at the foot of the block and immediately contacted the police.
When the police officers arrived, they found the boy lying in a pool of blood on a concrete pathway with his slippers nearby.
The boy was pronounced dead by paramedics that morning.
‘A Tragic Misadventure’
Previously when the boy’s grandfather was away, his grandmother would bring him along to work. The reason being, the boy was afraid of the dark if he was left at home alone.
As to why the boy was not taken care of by his parents, it is said that his father was frequently in jail, and his mother had lived apart from the family about a year after he was born.
State Coroner Kamala Ponnampalam said that the boy’s death was a “tragic misadventure”.
Being afraid of the dark, and found himself alone after he awoke, the coroner said that it could have led to the boy’s decision to look for his grandmother.
It propelled him to putting on his slippers, opening the window to climb onto the air-con ledge and eventually falling from a height.
It was said that there were no grilles installed on the window in the master bedroom. Although it was shut as the air-condition was switched on, the window could be opened easily as it was old.
Regretful of Incident
Following the incident, the boy’s grandmother is said to have regretted leaving him at home. She is said to be trying to cope with the loss.
She also described her grandson as “a very active boy who would run around the house, climb up on the sofa and jump around”.
She claimed that while her grandson enjoyed looking out of the window, he had never once opened the window or leaned against it.
The boy’s grandparents, however, had previously warned the boy of the dangers of going near the window that was situated next to the bed.
From this incident, the coroner said that the 3-year-old’s death “clearly illustrates the potential harm of leaving a young child alone at home”.
Lead image for illustration purposes only, via iStock.