Boy gets injured in weekend outing at shopping mall playground

Lo (right) showing the photos of the injuries on his son’s fingers as a result of the accident. On his right is Chong.
KUCHING: What was supposed to be a weekend outing on Jan 21, turned out to be a nightmare for Lo Woei Herng and his wife when their seven-year-old son was involved in an accident while playing in a playground at a shopping mall here.
The rotating blades of a blower fan in the middle of the playground which was left unattended had caused two of their son’s fingers to be severely injured up to the fingernail.
Speaking at a press conference here yesterday, Lo said the mishap happened after his wife had left their children at the playground in the shopping mall upon paying RM3 per child before running errands at the mall.
According to him, there was no ‘safety officer’ in attendance to handle the mishap or at least help to send his son for medical attention after the accident happened.
“There was only a female staff on duty who came with a first aid kit. She tried to stop the bleeding on the fingers but it didn’t help.”
He said he and his wife only knew about the accident when a parent called his wife to tell her what had happened and “asked my wife to pick my son up and send him to the hospital.”
“To her disappointment, there was no one from the playground management who came to help guide my wife.
“My son could not walk at that time because there was a lot of blood and he was traumatised. After paying the parking ticket, my wife, together with the staff sent my son to the hospital,” Lo told a press conference here yesterday, which was also attended by Bandar Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen.
Lo said his son needed to be admitted into the private hospital for an operation due to a bone fracture but nobody from the playground management was around to bear the responsibility for the medical expenses, despite attempts by the staff to contact the management.
“What if I’m poor and could not afford the RM4,000 deposit asked by the hospital on that day. What should I do? There was nobody from the management who could take care of this case and the staff who accompanied my wife could not make any decision because only the manager could decide.
“I had no choice but to pay the RM4,000 deposit myself to enable my boy to undergo an operation as soon as possible. I even called the management to request for a meeting but it seemed that they treated the accident with no sense of urgency.
“It was only on the next Monday that they called me to meet their management. But when I reached the office, I was only attended to by two staff who asked for the medical bill.”
Lo said he then told them that he was there not only to ask for the playground operator to be responsible for his son’s medical bill, but also to seek an apology and discuss the danger posed by the blower fan in the playground.
“Today, the accident happened to my boy who is seven years old. What about the three or four-year-old kids if they accidentally put their head into the blower fan? That is very dangerous. I was even told by an officer that the closed-circuit television (CCTV) at the playground was not working when I asked about the progress of their investigation on the accident.
“They have maintenance works done every Monday but that fan had been located in that area for the past two months. Because the inflatable toys are not working anymore, then that thing (blower fan) was not supposed to be there.
“According to the officer, she had no idea who switched on the fan and considering the switch was located very high from the ground, kids will not be able to switch it on. Also, they never apologised and treated it as if nothing had happened until this day.”
Lo said he was very angry when the officer told him “not to treat the shopping mall’s playground as a nursery”.
“I believe the playground is operated to ease the parents to go shopping and put their kids there. They are collecting a fee so they should take responsibility for kids’ safety and not putting this kind of dangerous blower fan inside the playground.”
Lo’s wife lodged a police report over the incident on Jan 21.
Meanwhile, Chong said he had written a letter to State Police Commissioner Datuk Mazlan Mansor to request for the case to be investigated and if necessary, prosecution to be brought against the management of the playground for their negligence.
“The management of playground should be held accountable and should not ignore such an accident that has occurred on their premises.”
To a question, Chong said the disclaimer erected at the playground only works to a certain extent.
“It may be a contract between the parents and management of the shopping mall but it does not absolve the mall from their responsibility in terms of criminal law. Even with the disclaimer, if there is an act on the part of the management to put a dangerous item into the playground, I think that disclaimer will not work to exonerate the management from any liability or responsibility on the injuries that happened in the playground.”
Attempts to contact the person in charge of the playground were futile as she was on leave.