When it comes to caring for young children—especially toddlers who tend to be more active—we can never be too careful. This was especially true for Edwin Ng whose 19-month-old daughter suffered an injury resulting in a cut on her forehead at her playgroup class.
In a Facebook post (1 Aug), Edwin Ng shared his child’s harrowing experience having to undergo two day-surgeries where she was placed under general anaesthesia just a couple of weeks apart.
The distraught father also claimed that her toddler, whom he calls Little L, experienced “recurring nightmares since the surgeries.”
First Incident Took Place on 3 July
According to Ng, the Principal at his child’s Maplebear Moulmein playgroup called on 3 July morning to inform him that Little L “fell and suffered a cut on her forehead.”
“The Principal said she was unable to tell us the actual condition (how deep or wide) of the cut as the blood was flowing out continuously from the cut (sic)“. Ng immediately rushed down to take his daughter to see a paediatrician (PD).
Further examinations revealed a laceration (or deep cut) on Little L’s left forehead. It was a “severe” cut according to the PD, and Ng was referred to visit a specialist.
“The cut was so deep that it cut through the skin layer and muscle layer, nearing the skull,” Ng stated. Little L underwent a “multi-layered stitching” procedure under general anaesthesia later that afternoon.
Little L, the 19-month-old suffers cut on forehead. | Image source: Facebook/Edwin Ng
The 19-month-old was brought home that night after a successful surgery.
Following the incident, Ng said he went on a conference call with Maplebear who explained their side of the story. According to Ng, Maplebear claimed no one witnessed anything that occurred, including the teachers, on how Little L fell or what she hit her forehead against.
No CCTV was installed in the centre
While Ng said there was no CCTV footage available to uncover what actually happened, he said that the Principal claimed that Little L lost her balance while sitting on a chair that was too high for her, and eventually fell from it.
In addition, it was said that the teacher-in-charge was only alerted of the incident after hearing Little L’s cries. Ng said the teacher claimed that Little L was “already on the floor, facedown with her hands in front of her” when she saw her.
In his Facebook post, Ng questioned the claims. “The centre said that Little L was not within reach of any of the teachers when the incident happened because of social distancing measures. How can my little girl who is only 19-months-old be left alone with no supervision and left on a chair that was too high for her?”
Furthermore, Ng also noted that some details of the incident were not reflected in the report sent to The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) by the Principal.
Ng said he gave the centre “a second chance”, seeing how Little L “was happy at Maplebear” and that the school promised to take remedial actions.
Second Incident on 23 July
It took a second incident on 23 July that made Ng “regret” his decision.
Yet to recover from her stitched wound—and still undergoing scar treatment—Little L injured her forehead once again under the care of the same teacher-in-charge of the playgroup. It caused her wound to reopen.
Ng said that varied statements from Maplebear claimed that Little L was made to participate in an activity that required the kids to lower their head towards the floor.
“[The] principal said Little L missed the mat while lowering her head and her forehead ‘touched’ the ground,” Ng wrote.
Ng said the principal further claimed that there was also “no sound of an impact” heard.
19-month-old underwent a second surgery
Following the second incident, Ng immediately brought Little L to consult the surgeon. The second day-surgery under general anaesthesia was scheduled for the following day.
However, unlike what the principal alleged, the surgeon said it was not possible that the stitched-up wound reopened with simply a “touch”.
In Maplebear’s finalised incident report that went through three iterations, the teacher-in-charge was said to have confirmed that Little L was not placed on the mat at all for the activity.
“Post first incident, the directors assured us that they take safety issues at Maplebear seriously and yet this second incident happened,” Ng wrote. Ng also stated that he did not receive the incident report for the second incident.
“It pains us that Little L had to go through these traumatic experiences not once but twice in less than a month,” wrote Ng. Image source: Facebook/Edwin Ng
Following both incidents, Ng officially withdrew Little L from Maplebear on 26 July 2020.
“We feel that there is a lack of accountability of what had happened and the school nor the teachers has taken responsibility of what happened.”
He added: “Till today, many questions are left unanswered by Maplebear. We do not know what happened exactly. We sought police assistance with investigations. We checked with ECDA and they said we need evidence. But we have no means to collect any evidence as the evidence is being controlled by Maplebear. We feel helpless.”
Ng said by sharing his story with fellow parents to highlight the importance of a safe environment in school as well as proper care by teachers and caregivers, he hopes that no parents or children will have to experience what he has gone through.
Meanwhile, Maplebear Moulmein in a Facebook post said they have released an “official statement to all relevant parties.”
theAsianparent has reached out to Maplebear Moulmein for the official statement in response to all relevant parties.
Separately, in MapleBear Moulmein’s letter to parents which theAsianparent has seen, it said that they are aware of the “incident that has been circulating on social media in recent days regarding a student, ‘Little L’, who attended [their] MapleBear Moulmein School.”
In the letter, the school said “the two teachers in ‘Little L’s’ class are passionate about their duties and they take their responsibilities seriously. They are saddened by this incident and have rendered their utmost assistance in this matter”.
It added further that while CCTV equipment “does not render an environment safer, nor is it required of licensed childcare centres in Singapore,” the school has taken a “proactive step” to get CCTV equipment installed to “give parents comfort that [they] will spare no effort in finding ways to give accurate accounts of incidents, should the situation arise where CCTV footage can serve that purpose.”
The school noted, however, that ‘Little L’s’ parents “appeared satisfied” with the additional arrangements they had implemented, and did not provide any further feedback.
“We did not have any reason to believe they were displeased with the school environment,” it said.
Regarding the second incident which caused ‘Little L’s’ wound to reopen after she laid her head on the ground as part of an activity that required her “to pretend to sleep,” MapleBear clarified that it was not a new activity and was among the same activities she and other children had participated in over the recent weeks. Following the incident, teachers accompanied ‘Little L’ and her parents to visit the doctor, the school said.
According to MapleBear, no immediate stitching of ‘Little L’s’ wound was required that day.
“We were also very assured to hear from her doctor directly that she could continue normal school activities and ‘can even go swimming.’”
MapleBear also claimed that for the follow-up treatment that was scheduled for ‘Little L’ the next day, teachers offered to accompany her parents, however they were “unable to reach her parents despite [their] attempts.”
“We are committed to rendering our full assistance to her parents as mentioned previously, our channels remain open to them. All our families are important to us and we will accede to all reasonable requests for assistance,’ it added.
You can read Ng’s full post here:
Lead image source: Facebook/Edwin Ng