In today’s nuclear family set-up, parents do have to leave their children unattended at times. But how can they ensure the safety of the kids that still don't understand certain do's and don'ts.
The accidental death of a 4-year-old girl who fell from the balcony of her 10th-floor apartment in Jaipuria Sunrise Greens, Indirapuram, has shocked and saddened residents of the society. The incident happened yesterday evening, when the child was alone in the apartment. She had climbed on to a chair in the balcony, and fell as she was leaning forward trying to look down.
While everyone is still reeling from the shock, most women in the society, especially mothers, feel that it is an unavoidable and somewhat inevitable truth of nuclear families that parents sometimes have to leave their children unattended — whether it is to go to the market or to their jobs. The situation is especially bad when both parents are working, without in-laws or other relatives to take care of the child in their absence.
In Maira's case, she was alone in the flat when the incident happened. Her father was in office, her mother was out for house errands and her older sister had left for her tuition classes.
Speaking to City Spidey, Jaya Shivnani, a resident of the society, maintained that the incident was more of an accident and less a case of negligence. “From what I know, the mother was to come back before Maira’s older sister left for tuition. But she got delayed and the little girl was left alone in the flat for a brief period. We see this in nuclear families when parents sometimes have to leave their kids alone,” she said.
While Rama Agarwal, another resident of the society and a mother, agreed with Shivnani, she believed that children that young should never be left alone. “Children can be left without adult supervision for a while once they mature and understand the do's and dont’s. But not till they are old enough. Though it is not exactly negligence, this is a major drawbacks of being in a nuclear family,” Agarwal said.
Stuti Agarwal, another resident and a mother, who lives in the society with her in-laws, said that living with her in-laws gave her some relief from having to worry about her children when she is out. “My in-laws take care of my kids when I am out, and it is one of the perks of living in a joint family,” she added.
Since the incident, residents of high-rises have put out recommendations for parents to follow. While some residents recommended that furniture such as chairs and stools be kept away from balconies, others asked that balconies be kept shut at all times.
A panicky Ambika Jha, another resident of Sunrise Greens, even reached her society’s maintenance office with a recommendation to cover all balconies of higher floors. “I am ready to pay my share of expenses if the RWA is willing to take up the issue. There have been many such incidents in the past, where residents, children or maids have fallen off balconies,” Jha added.