One Singapore mum thought her maid had simply been careless when her baby daughter ended up with second-degree burns. But the truth was far more sinister.
In a now-viral Facebook post, Amy Low, 40, recounted how her maid had burnt her baby’s hand on purpose in a bid to get sent home and warned other parents to keep a close eye on their domestic helpers.
Baby burned by hot water
On Jan 14, Low and her husband had left their two daughters, aged eight and 16 months, in the care of their maid while they were at work.
At 5.20pm, Low’s husband received a call from their eight-year-old saying that her baby sister had suffered a burn.
Image: Facebook Amy Low Mei Liang)
Baby Burned By Hot Water As Maid Forces Hand Into Boiling Pot. | Image: Facebook Amy Low Mei Liang)
Low and her husband rushed the girl to the hospital, where the doctor told Low that her daughter had suffered second-degree burns and seemed to “have some doubts” about the cause of the wounds.
“Since the maid started working, we told her that her priority is always to look after our girl and never to bring her into the kitchen,” Low wrote. “We can always take away dinner and there is no need for her to cook.”
Nevertheless, she took her maid’s explanation at face value, believing that the girl had touched a hot cooking pot before she could stop her.
But things began to unravel the next morning when the maid packed up all her belongings and insisted on returning to her employment agency.
“I kept assuring her that we never blamed her, as it was just an accident, she could still stay on and work for us. But she was very insistent, hence I called the agency up,” Low said.
The agency readily agreed to take the helper back and return Low the amount that she had paid to cover her maid’s loan.
The loan, also known as a placement fee, refers to pre-employment expenses that the maid owes to the agency. It is usually deducted from the maid’s salary in their first few months of employment.
Feeling that something was amiss, Low checked the footage from the closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera in her kitchen.
Screengrab of the CCTV footage from when the baby was burned by hot water. | Image: Facebook (Amy Low Mei Liang)
To her horror, she saw her helper dipping her daughter’s left hand repeatedly into a boiling pot, ignoring her cries of pain.
Questioning her maid, she found out that the maid’s friends and employment agency had taught her to hurt the child “so that she could go home”.
The 30-year-old came from Myanmar and was employed on Dec 7 last year, Low told The Straits Times.
Still in shock and “shaking throughout”, Low called the police who arrested the domestic helper at her Buangkok Link flat on Jan 15.
But her nightmare did not end there.
After the employment agency found out that she had made a police report, they began to harass her and accuse her of being a “bad employer”, leaving her fearful that they would hurt her family, she claimed.
The police are investigating Low’s maid for voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous means.
However, Low said the police have not taken any further action against the employment agency for harassing her.
How to treat a burn
Children’s bodies heat up and lose heat much faster than adults. Which is why it is so important to know what to do in case of a burn or thermal injury.
- If your child has burns on the hand, foot, face, eyes, or groin, or those that cover a large area, seek medical attention or dial 999 for emergency medical attention.
- In the state of emergency, remove your child from the heat source.
- Cool the affected area with cold water or cold compresses until pain is reduced or alleviated.
- If a blister has formed, do not break it.
- Protect the burn with a dry, sterile, gauze bandage or with a clean bed sheet or cloth.
- Remove constrictive clothing immediately. Take off jewellery, belts, and tight clothing.