Is this a case of infant abuse or accident?
A suspicious case involving an infant getting scalded has raised many questions with the transparency of child care centres.
Imagine receiving a phone call from the infant care centre informing you that your infant has suffered first degree burns. The thought of that traumatic situation is probably enough to send shivers down the spines of most parents.
Unfortunately, one mother in Singapore had to endure that horrifying ordeal last November. While the infant is presumably alright now, one question has been heavily weighing on the mother’s mind. Was it simply an accident as the child care centre claims or was it a case of infant abuse? We will let you pass the verdict on this tricky case.
Closer look into the case
In November last year, the mother who wants to be referred to as Mrs Tan, was a 37-year old postgraduate student preparing for her examinations. However, just hours before she was due to sit for a paper, she received the shocking news that her 4.5-month old baby had been scalded during bath time. Mrs Tan stated, ‘ A million thoughts rushed through my mind.”
Her husband who was at work at the time of the incident assured Mrs Tan then he would go to the hospital first to check out the situation and that she should instead focus on her exam. When her husband arrived at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, he was informed that their baby had suffered first-degree burns.
Now here comes the suspicious part. Three days after the incident, the teacher who was present during the incident said that ‘she did not remember’ when the couple tried to find out how their baby got scalded.
Another four days later, the couple were informed by the owner of the child care centre that the incident was simply an accident and no one was at fault. Mrs Tan told the New Paper, “The owner told my husband that… our baby had kicked the tap, turning on the hot water, and stuck her leg under the running hot water, resulting in the first-degree burns.”
Due largely to the inconsistent explanations given, Mrs Tan found the whole incident very suspicious and maintains that she believes that the incident was not simply an accident but might possibly be a case of infant abuse.
So is this a case of abuse or is it simply an accident?
Should child care centres be more transparent?
Regardless of whether the incident was an accident or a case of infant abuse, the entire ordeal has led Mrs Tan to bring up the issue of transparency with regards to childcare centres.
This is especially so for infant abuse cases which can easily be covered up by childcare centres. “There is no incentive for them to come clean. It leads to compensation and other problems, so it’s much easier for them to sweep everything under the carpet… There is no way for a parent to find out something has gone wrong unless they find out from other sources,” Mrs Tan said.
Leaving your child alone in the care of others is certainly not an easy task for any parent to do. Should childcare centres be more transparent in their operations? Should childcare centres be required to install CCTVs in their premises so as to become more accountable to parents? If so, who should shoulder the additional costs of installing the CCTV?
As cases of infant abuse continue to hit the headlines, it is time for Singapore to start pondering over these questions as it becomes increasingly common for parents to leave their children in childcare centres.
RELATED: List of preschools and kindergarten