6-month-old baby dies while under nanny's care, police investigating

Shin Min Daily News

A couple were shocked when they received a call from their son’s nanny on Tuesday (Dec 28), who told them that their six-month-old son had stopped breathing. 

The baby's father told Shin Min Daily News that he received the call in the evening, and was informed that his child was being taken to Sengkang General Hospital. 

Frightened by the news, the 30-year-old accounting assistant asked the nanny why his son had stopped breathing, but the latter was unable to give him an answer. He then called his wife, and the couple rushed to the hospital. 

The couple were brought to a waiting room in the hospital, where they received the unfortunate news from the doctor. The doctor told them that they tried to save their son, but there was nothing they could do.

The doctor added that he suspected the child had already stopped breathing before he was sent to the hospital, but an autopsy report was needed to be sure. 

Reporters from the Chinese evening daily also spoke to the baby's mother, also 30, who was unable to come to terms with her son's sudden demise. "His appetite was very good the night before, he was still very happy when I took him to the nanny's house," she said. 

The boy's father said that the police have classified the case as an unnatural death, and are currently investigating. The boy's death certificate states that he died of heart and lung failure. 

The police told AsiaOne that they were alerted to a case of unnatural death at Block 158D Rivervale Crescent at 6.25pm last Tuesday.

"A baby was found motionless at the said location and was conveyed unconscious to the hospital. He was subsequently pronounced dead at the hospital. Police investigations are ongoing." 

The nanny, a 42-year-old woman, told reporters from the Chinese evening daily that she helped the child sleep at around 3pm that afternoon. 

"At about 6.15pm, I was going to bathe him, but I realised that he was face down [on the playpen]. Half of his face had turned purple, and he wasn't breathing."

She promptly called the ambulance after the boy did not respond, and performed CPR on him. "I pressed his chest and stroked his back until the paramedics came to give him first aid, but it was no use," she said. 

Baby was injured by other children previously 

The baby's father also said that he had discovered red marks on his son's body after picking him up from the nanny on previous occasions.

"At first I thought my son had scratched himself by accident, but after asking the nanny she said that he had been injured by the other children under her care." 

He pointed out that one day before his death, the six-month-old had been hit in the nose with a toy, which left a red mark. 

The couple were actually planning to change nanny, but could not afford infant care as both of them are Permanent Residents from Johor Bahru, and only have a combined salary of $4,000 monthly.

claudiatan@asiaone.com