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3-year-old girl injured in fall from 5th-floor balcony in Kobe

27 Comments

A three-year-old girl suffered minor injuries after falling from the balcony of her apartment on the 5th floor of a Kobe apartment block on Wednesday. The accident happened at around 2:50 p.m. in Suma Ward, according to police.

The girl fell roughly 13 meters. It is believed that shrubbery below the balcony cushioned her fall, resulting in only minor injuries to her left knee. Police believe the girl may have climbed on top of the air conditioning unit on the balcony and then fell over the top of the railing.

At the time of the accident, the girl was alone in the apartment with her one-year-old sister after their mother had gone downstairs to retrieve a doll the girl had dropped from the balcony.

© Compiled from news reports

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27 Comments
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Poor kid. Great that she did not have more serious injuries. I bet Mum will be more careful in future.

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Holy Lord! the child had ALREADY been out on the balcony and dropped the doll. The mother wins this months STUPIDEST PARENT in the WORLD award. SO lucky the child survived. There is no chalking this one off to the " parenting is so difficult, children get into everything, it could happen to anyone" argument that often get posted to these frequent articles.

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I'm so glad she's all right. And yeah... what was the mother thinking? I understand what she was going to do, and I don't blame her for that, but why would you leave a 3 year old out on the balcony? I want to assume she was out there when the doll thing happened, so that's one thing. But common sense would tell you to take the child in, close the doors, and THEN go get the doll. It wasn't really a matter of life or death about the doll, so one wonders why she didn't think to do that.

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I don't know why in this country of high rise apartments, there are virtually no safety catches etc on balcony doors. If there are secondary locks, they tend to be easy to undo and be at the bottom (!!!!) of the door or window. Go to Akachan honpo and you will find a tone of locks for the refrigerator door and tv cabinet but nothing for balcony doors. This is one of the reasons we chose to live in a house with our four and two year old. Thank God this little one is going to be okay. A five storey fall could have easily killed her.

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hapagirls.

Most Balcony doors got a lock-slider on the locks(midway up the door).

Or you can use on of those burglar preventions that prevent the door from sliding open past a certain point. Most kids will struggle to undo those if properly tightened.

Not sure what doors you have seen here. Rather than akachan-honpo visit your local Home-Center and you will find way more useful stuff and way cheaper.

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hapagirl-

in this case, the girl was already in the balcony. even if there was the secondary lock, in this case, it wouldn't have helped because the mother probably opened the door to let the girl be out on the balcony to play.

3-year-olds are often smart enough to quick learn how to unlock the secondary lock once they see their parents do it. the best thing is to TALK TALK and TALK MORE about safety and tell them over and over it is NOT okay to go to the balcony unless they are with mommy or daddy. My 3-year-old knows how to unlock the door, but she also knows she is not supposed to open the door/window herself. she always asks me or daddy to open when she wants to go out, and if we say no, she sometimes cries, but she does NOT try to open the door herself because she has been told many many times that it is dangerous.

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fishy- agreed. Remember when I took my then 3-year old daughter back to Germany and she remembered how to open the terrasse door after seeing it only ONE time, and its different from the locks in Japan, I was just baffeled! Anyway, I think the complaints should go to the construction: Why is it still allowed to put aircon boxes on the ground and thus create the live-threatening situation? There is no constructional problem putting them at the wall below the ceiling and since the inside unit is below the ceiling too, this would make piping shorter, thus using less energy. Kids in the big city nowadays have less chance to go outside, so let them play on the balcony should be an option, its still better than to just look at the TV.

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I totally agree its about talking to them about safety and a three year old should know, as my two year old already does. My kids always have to ask if they can open the front door and the garden door. However, I do think that when they are small, it makes sense to keep things as safe as possible. My kids know not to touch the cooker but I never leave food cooking and leave my kids unattended in the kitchen. Also, it doesn't say that the mother let her daughter out on the balcony to play. The one year old might have opened the door. Either way, since the 3 year old had already gone out there and dropped a doll, I don't see why the mother left them alone to retrieve it. Kids like to repeat actions that have specific results.

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so let them play on the balcony should be an option

yes, agree. Letting toddlers play in the balcony IS an option and I think it is good AS LONG AS THEY ARE SUPERVISED THE WHOLE TIME they are out.

i sometimes bring a kiddy pool on the balcony in the summer and let my toddler play there because there's a roof to protect her skin from sunshine while if I put the pool in the backyard, there's no roof. but the rule is to be there and watch the whole time..

3-year-olds are SMART but NOT SMART if you know what i mean.. they are smarter that parents would think (they learn lots of things so quick .. like how to unlock the door and etc) but at the same time they do stupid things like climbing up somewhere high to look down without realizing their heads are heavy and etc).

I am glad this girl was okay.. I am sure the mom will be much more careful from now on !

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While the mom in question is not as bad as all the other 'kid falls of balcony' moms who go to play pachinko or what have you, I agree that it was pretty daft of her to let the kid stay out on the balcony after having dropped the doll (or leaving the kids on their own to open the door and climb on the air-con). Fortunately in this instance it's literally a 'live and learn' outcome. I hope the girl's okay.

I also agree that there are not NEARLY enough safety measures on all these apartment buildings and/or the balconies are covered in so much clutter it's simple for a kid to climb up and over. I know it's not pretty to look at, but maybe it's time to put the nets up on apartment building balconies; this happens WAY too often.

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i would probably lock the veranda door if she just dropped her doll off the veranda and i left her along while i went and got it. IDIOT!

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I`m with fishy - my kids know they are not allowed out on the balcony without my permission, and it has been drilled into them so many times now they never go out there without checking with me first.

My 1 year old figured out the cupboard locks we got from Akachan Honpo the other week about 1/2 an hour after we fixed them on, and was able to dig out the consent guards really easily. I find the safety stuff here is pretty rubbish. I don`t know about elsewhere to compare as I have only ever raised kids in Japan.

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This little girl is so lucky. She could have fallen on top of the mother and killed her.

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miamum-

I'm glad we agree :)

I find the safety stuff here is pretty rubbish. I don`t know about elsewhere to compare as I have only ever raised kids in Japan

I have to say, that child safety stuff is trushy outside of Japan, too (at least the places I've been to..).. but the thing is, child safety stuff is not a baby sitter.. it is there to support parents. parents shouldn't rely on those safety stuff too much. To educate your children, to be in the same room with children and watch them to make sure they're safe is the most important I think!

Japanese news said that this girl tried to look down to see if she could find her mother.. the mom should have taken the girl (and the baby) with her. Shouldn't be too much of work (a baby in one arm and the girl holding the mom's hand -- easy).

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Where exactly is it written that the girl was on the balcony when the mother went down to retreive the doll? The girl was on the balcony when she dropped her doll. Then, at the end of the article, it was written that "the girl was IN the appartment when the mother went down".The girl probably opened the door herself.

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sasoriza-

Even if the girl was IN the room when the mother went outside, as I said in my earlier post, 3-year-olds can learn things so quick and they can easily unlock the door/window, and the girl clearly did not understand she was not supposed to go on the balcony by herself. Mother should have taken both the girl and the baby outside with her. Whether the girl was in the room or on the balcony at the time the mom went out, the fact that the mother wasn't careful enough doesn't change. Might sound harsh, but I have a 3-year-old and I know what they are capable of and how stupid they can be sometimes.

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So glad she's ok. As for the parent put the kid inside the house lock the doors and windows, then go get the doll. Common sense! I really think I need to open up a common sense school here.

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Seems like every other week some kid is falling off a balcony somewhere.

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Youre right, and Ive been antsy about it ever since we moved from the 3rd floor (with a ledge underneath) to the 17th floor last year. Scares the bejesus out of me.

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You know this is just a tip of an iceberg, this country is not just geard up to caring about the child safety. i.e. look at the rear windows of cars; they are automatic and sometimes we can hear the news that poor kids were seriously injured because their necks were trapped between the window and the frame. and like someone told here, Japanese people are not really always supervising children. They are not good at giving diciplines to them neither. Makes me wonder, why there are faily high infants accidents happened in this country... Oh dear..

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This might be a silly question but why doesnt the government make safety fencing mandatory (similar to pool fencing in other countries) something that cant be climbed up on yes it may impact your view but whats the alternative a dead or severly injured child. Apologies if this is already the case but from what l have seen nit many places have it.

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AdamB, there's a point where it no longer becomes a home and instead turns into a prison/death-trap. A fenced-in balcony prevents using the balcony for escape in the case of a fire just outside the apartment door. There's no way to completely eliminate risk yet still maintain "quality of life". The only way to eliminate risk of falls is to live in the flatlands and never use stairs. How likely is THAT going to be a viable option?

The kids will still have to be watched in order to ensure their natural inquisitiveness doesn't cause them harm.

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Ah, yes! Another example of the perfect parent! Um... wouldn't common sense have told the mother to close and lock the balcony door before leaving the apartment? Oh, sorry! This is Japan and common sense does not exist. Glad the little girl survived. Sadly, too many don't. I am not going to go into the stupidity of putting the aircon against the railing. That would imply too much forethought in a country of robots.

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Um... wouldn't common sense have told the mother to close and lock the balcony door before leaving the apartment?

What makes you so sure that she didn't?

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This mother is an idiot. She should not let them play on the balcony or outside the door. They should play in the house or go to a freakin playground.

This mother is an idiot. I guess the kid learned the hard way the realities of playing in a balcony

Mother charged with neglect should be a good punishment also supervised visits from child welfare department 3 times a week.

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I have my own 2 small children, and I would never let them play out on the balcony without our adult supervision, but I completely agree with AdamB! If too many Japanese parents, mothers are too tired or too stupid to NOT look after their kids, at least make a new national law, where all of these walls etc..become child proof, even if kids climb on an outdoor airconditioner that these kids will not be falling to their deaths etc...this 3 year old is just very, very lucky to be alive and not paraplegic etc..for the rest of her life! Time to make homes idiot proof.

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Accidents happen. This sounds like a true accident, where curiosity almost killed the cat, but didn't (thankfully).

Kids can and will get into everything. And will open everything. Have you ever seen tests where they see if kids can open up prescription bottles? I know I've often gone BONKERS trying to open those things. Or the safety caps on OTC drugs. But somehow little kids manage to pop them open. Any kind of child safety lock is baby-proof but probably not child-proof after about age 3 or 4. It is entirely possible that this child just opened up the balcony on her own.

But it is a good reminder that accidents can happen in an instant. You might think it's only a couple of minutes down and back up, and that's all it takes for disaster to hit. I don't think moms should have to be glued to their children 24/7, but I think being aware of hidden dangers if you are going to pop down and back up would be a wise thing.

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