Many of us had come across the worrying videos, where a woman was seen carrying a little child in a field in Singapore, and repeatedly dropping him/her on to the ground.
The videos were first shared on the ‘Childcare in Singapore’ Facebook group, and soon went viral. And now, according to news reports, the maid in question has been arrested, after the parents of the child identified the victim to be their 5-year-old son.
The incident apparently happened on 12 March 2019, at around 10 am, at a field near Block 673C Edgefield Plains, in Punggol.
Maid arrested in Singapore after parents find video of her abusing son
According to Lianhe Wanbao, the child’s father came across the video on Facebook on 14 March, and was shocked to find that the child was his son, and the woman, his 24-year-old helper.
The boy had earlier complained to his parents that the maid had thrown him on to the ground, and that his front and back hurt. The maid however, denied any wrongdoing, and claimed that the boy had got hurt because he was rolling on the field.
The child’s mother, Lisa, however felt that something wasn’t right. The maid usually took her son to the playground (and not to the field) to play. Watching the video added to her worst fears.
“I immediately contacted the video uploader to find the person who shot the footage. I was able to verify the time and location of the incident and confirm that it’s my son,” Lisa told Lianhe Wanbao.
The parents lodged a police report on the very same day. When the police questioned the maid, at first she denied hurting the child, but later confessed to her actions.
According to Lianhe Wanbao, the police have confirmed that they are currently investigating a 24-year-old maid.
Why she harmed the child though, remains a mystery.
“I asked her why she did it. But she neither explained nor apologised for her actions. After that, the police handcuffed her and took her away,” Lisa told Lianhe Wanbao.
Mum quits job, scared of hiring another maid
Lisa told Lianhe Wanbao that, she had hired the maid in 2018, after she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. But this whole incident has left her shocked and wary of hiring another maid.
She says that she has always treated her maid well and in fact, she would often buy food to share with her, and they even cooked together. She never expected her trust to be broken in this manner.
She has now quit her job to take care of her son and 9-year-old daughter. Her husband now works two jobs to provide for the family.
How to make sure your baby is safe with your maid
How do we know for sure if our baby is well taken care of by the maid? Here are some pointers:
Observe your child for warning signs
- Watch out for changes in your child’s behaviour when your maid is around.
Does your little one appear fearful, anxious, or refuse to stay with her, even after your maid has been with you for some time? If yes, then the situation warrants more investigation.
- Look for obvious signs of physical abuse such as bruises, cuts and scratches.
While it’s true that active children do hurt themselves quite often, if these injuries happen too often, then it might be an indication that all is not right.
- Your child looks dirty and unkept most of the time.
Again, it’s normal for little kids to get quite messy. But if you notice constant dirty, heavy nappies that are not changed, grimy fingers or dirty clothes, it could be a sign that your maid is neglecting the needs of your little one.
These days we have the luxury of knowing what’s happening in our homes, even when we are on the go. It is however important to let the maid know of the existence of the CCTV camera, lest she complains of breach of privacy.
Don’t stick to fixed timings. Come home early once in while to see what’s really happening.
Lay out the rules
Be strict about house rules, such as not entertaining friends at your house when alone with your little one, or taking the child outside without your approval. You might also want to specify the rules for using her handphone.
Don’t overload your maid
Many a time, the maid vents her frustrations on the child because she’s too stressed or tied up with her work. Sit with your maid, and make sure she’s comfortable with the tasks at hand. Discuss on a timetable that you can follow daily. Make sure that she is healthy, and has enough sleep and energy for all her tasks.
Communication and training
Wherever possible, write down specific instructions to be followed, and put it up on the wall, or on the fridge. You might even want to take some time off work to train your maid in the initial days, until she gets used to your home environment.
Always encourage your maid to be honest with you. So if your baby/child falls down or hits himself somewhere, ask your maid for specific details and encourage her to be honest about it.
Give constructive feedback
If you are not happy with what’s happening, instruct her without scolding. Praise her for every good work done. It will spur her to do better.
When on the lookout for someone to take care of your little one, always check if she has prior experience in doing so. Inexperienced hands may lack the maturity and patience to deal with your little one. Talk to referees and previous employers, before you take the big step.