Death of toddler exposes danger of folding tables, importance of parental supervision

The danger posed by a common item of furniture found in almost every Taiwanese household has been put into the spotlight after a 3-year-old boy died clamped in the legs of a folding table in his home in Taichung City, yesterday, May 3.

The parents of the toddler, named Chen, were putting their one-year-old to sleep while the 3-year-old boy was playing alone upstairs, according to reports, including Liberty Times. After around 20 minutes, the 57-year-old father went upstairs to search for his son, and found the mahjong table upside down with the toddler clamped between the foldable legs of the table. The child had already stopped breathing.

The boy was rushed to hospital by ambulance, but was unable to be resuscitated, and was declared dead 30 minutes after arrival.

A spokesperson for the Jing Chuan Child Safety Foundation said that the foundation received reports of such cases every year, with sometimes two or three cases in one year, and that most cases involved fatalities, United Daily News reported.

One reason for the frequency of accidents is the fact that such tables are so common in Taiwan. While ostensibly designed for playing mahjong, they are also used for a wide variety of purposes, and are handy to have around a house.

Aside from the potential danger to young children posed by folding tables, parents are reminded to not leave children in other rooms to play by themselves, and to keep them under supervision at all times, the association said.

Police and social welfare authorities are investigating whether the case involves parental neglect.

Picture for illustrative purposes only.

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