THE COUNTRY needs to learn a lesson from the recent tragic fall of four unattended children from their rented apartment in Bangkok, experts emphasized yesterday . Associate Professor Adisak Plitapolkarnpim, who heads the Mahidol University’s National Institute for Child and Family Development, said the tragedy could have been avoided had these children received help or proper training. On Tuesday, four Thai-Swiss siblings fell from a fourth-floor balcony to the ground outside a five-storey apartment building. The accident killed one five-year-old boy and injured three other siblings, while their mother was out working.The mother had separated from their father. The children were between five and 11 years old. The oldest is just 11 and she has to care of three younger siblings.In principle, the children will be able to live alone when they reach the age of 12 if they receive training,” Adisak said.
He pointed out that children, for example, should be trained about what to do in the event of an emergency and about how to avoid possible danger.According to their grandfather, it is very likely the youngsters were trying to collect a dish that had fallen into a net next to the balcony when a section of the balcony gave way.“Things would have been different had they not tried to collect the dish by themselves,” Adisak said. He said his center had conducted a project to equip children with safety skills starting from the age of 10 years.“Children should have been taught these skills in the event they have to stay home alone,” he said.Adisak also emphasised that had teachers and neighbours alerted authorities about the children being unattended, they would have received help and the tragedy could have been prevented.“Teachers should go visiting their students at home to see how they are doing. If they are alone at such a young age, give them help,” he said.This expert also pointed out that relevant authorities must provide clear information to parents on how they could seek help when having to leave their children unattended.“If you find children unattended at night, call 1300,” Adisak said.He said parents were by law required to ensure a safe and sound environment for their children, in the event they had to leave their children unattended.“Failure to do so is punishable by a jail term of up to three months and/or a fine of Bt30,000,” he said.He added that parents who brought their young children to a nursery must not be complacent either.“Check if your children have sustained any wound when they come back home. Call 1300 if you find a serious or suspicious wound,” he said. nation