It was a family outing gone wrong when Facebook user, Merlyn Tok, took her daughters to an indoor playground at Northpoint City on March 24.
Her six-year-old daughter complained of an itch in her right ear the next day, Tok, 30, wrote in a Facebook post on April 20.
Upon inspection, they discovered that a little plastic bead was lodged in her ear.
The marketing executive added that her younger daughter, however, had three beads stuck in her ears.
According to Tok, she brought her daughters to the Accident & Emergency department but the doctors there were unable to remove it.
Hence, they scheduled an appointment with the Ear Nose & Throat (ENT) specialist the following day.
She told Lianhe Wanbao in an interview that it required three people to hold her eldest daughter still while the specialist extracted the bead.
Tok said that her daughter was so frightened that she was crying and screaming during the process.
As for the younger daughter, her condition was more serious as the beads were lodged close to the eardrum.
The extraction took 20 minutes as they had to be careful not to damage the eardrum and compromise her ability to hear.
The specialist reportedly told Tok that she has seen similar cases recently.
Concerned for the safety of other kids visiting indoor playgrounds, Tok made the decision to go public with her story to raise awareness for other parents.
“PLAYING AND PUTTING THE BEADS INTO THEIR EARS”
When Tok returned to the indoor playground the following week to alert them of the safety hazard, she was surprised at their response.
She claimed in her Facebook post that the staff told her that the girls must have been “playing and putting the beads into their ears”.
The staff also informed her to bring the girls to a doctor and return with the medical bill which they will reimburse.
Tok explained that she wasn’t seeking compensation but wanted to highlight the safety hazard.
She was then given the contact information of the person in charge of the playground, but their text messages to the number went unanswered.
Tok also emphasised to Lianhe Wanbao that she had been “supervising her children” and “was sure that they didn’t intentionally put the beads in their ear”.
In the same report, the spokesperson for the playground asserted that he had received the feedback from the parents and that his staff did enquire about the girls’ condition.
The spokesperson also revealed that parents are reminded to not let their children put the beads or toys into their ears, mouth, and nose.
He explained that plastic beads, or cassia seeds, are commonly used to construct “sand” pits in indoor playgrounds because they don’t collect dust, are easier to clean, and are less likely to fall into someone’s eye.
AsiaOne also reached out to Frasers Property Singapore (which manages the mall) and a spokesperson replied that they “understand that the tenant in question is looking into this incident”.
“The safety and well-being of our customers remain our priority,” the spokesperson concluded.
PARENTS TO ACCOMPANY THEIR KIDS
In response to Tok’s post, the playground in question – Sunshine Childhood Playland – published their statement on Facebook.
They wrote that “maintaining the order of the playground, hygiene and cleanliness” is of paramount importance and reiterated that children “below the age of five” should be accompanied by their parents.
They added that notices are pasted at various locations within the playground to remind parents of the risks if their kids are left unattended.
In addition, the staff are also trained to remind “parents to take care of the kids” and that children should not “put sand and smaller toys into their ears, nose and mouth”.
“We strive to provide a clean, safe and comfortable playground for all to enjoy, and constantly revising our service procedures to provide an even safer and better environment,” they wrote.