PETALING JAYA – A two-year-old child in Selangor, Malaysia, died after her mother left her in a car for more than seven hours on Wednesday, reported The Star.
This came after two other toddlers died in similar circumstances in Malaysia in October.
Local police said the mother, a woman in her 30s, drove two of her children to school before arriving at a daycare centre to drop off her two-year-old daughter.
“However, she settled some online business transactions while parked near the daycare centre and forgot to drop the victim off,” the police said in a statement on Thursday.
The mother then went home, and realised that her daughter was still in the car at about 3.35pm on Wednesday, the police said.
The father of the child called for an ambulance and tried to save her, but the child was pronounced dead later at Sungai Buloh Hospital.
A post-mortem will be conducted, and police investigations are ongoing.
In October, a 16-month-old girl in Terengganu died after her father left her in the car at a university carpark for hours.
He reportedly forgot to take his daughter to the daycare centre in the university where he worked.
Also in October, an eight-month-old girl in Kuala Lumpur died after being left in the car at a hospital carpark for 10 hours. Her mother, a doctor, forgot to drop her off at the nursery before reporting to work.
The spate of tragedies prompted a number of concerned individuals to call for collective efforts to stop the “forgotten baby syndrome”.
Leaders of the Malaysian Association of Social Workers, Childline Foundation, Crib (Child Rights Innovation and Betterment) Foundation and others issued a statement on Oct 26, urging parents and guardians to check their vehicles before walking away.
“This is not just a Malaysian problem but a worldwide worry.
“For example, in the United States, more than 1,000 children have died in ‘hot vehicles’ and another 7,000 plus survived with varying injuries since 1990,” the group said in the statement, adding that a child in a closed vehicle under the sun can die within just 20 to 30 minutes.
“We are writing not to apportion blame, as we recognise that this could happen to any parent or caregiver.
“This is not a neglect issue but one of the busy-ness of modern life taxing our memory,” the statement said.
The group then went on to recommend a few methods parents can adopt. For example, they could leave an important item like their phone in the back seat with their child.
They should also ask their childcare provider, babysitter or kindergarten teacher to call them if their child fail to show up at the expected time.
Parents or caregivers could adopt technologies like car seats with built-in sensors or alarms, Global Positioning System trackers or apps with built-in alerts and reminders such as Waze.
Members of the public should take action if they see a child left alone in a car.
“Don’t wait more than a few minutes for the driver to return before taking action,” the group said.
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