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3-yr-old boy, left home alone, falls to death from 11th-floor balcony

93 Comments

A three-year-old boy fell to his death from the balcony of his 11th-floor apartment in Adachi Ward on Tuesday after his parents left him home alone.

According to a TBS report, the 15-story apartment block's superintendent called police at around 4:30 p.m. to report that a toddler was lying on the ground outside, having apparently fallen from one of the apartment balconies. The boy was taken to hospital where he died a short while later.

Police said the boy's father was at work and his mother was out shopping at the time of the incident. The unattended child is believed to have climbed up a laundry drying rack that had been left on the balcony and then fallen to his death, TBS reported.

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93 Comments
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What is WRONG with these people???!!! Week after week after bloody week. I dont even know what to say.

15 ( +20 / -6 )

What is WRONG with these people???!!!

Hmmmm, I would have thought the answer to that question was obvious. They are irresponsible imbeciles! Sadly, I put it down to not just being neglectful. I fear they are also just too darn lazy and selfish to care.

0 ( +7 / -8 )

So sad...The predominant attitude here amongst mothers is "it won't happen to me" it is this belief that prevents risks being identified. I used to have this attitude before I became a father, now I find I am the opposite, i see risk everywhere.

I'm not sure what can be done about it. when I try and illustrate risks to mothers here I just get "Daiiiizyooobu" and a chuckle.

Could be the education system, luckily my wife dropped out early so she doesn't have this attitude.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Another in the long line of idiotic parents not thinking and as a result a child has died. No doubt if the poor kid was accidentally hit by a car the driver would be promptly arrested yet l bet this idiot gets nothing. This happens way to often in this country, in other countries you leave your child and something happens you are charged.... Not here though

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Very sad, to many young children die from balcony's here. The Mother made a poor decision and will haunted by this till the day she dies. RIP little guy.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

The father left the mother in charge to go do a job. The mother left and left no one in charge while she went shopping. Not that I condone that in the slightest, but she did not even bother to secure the doors to the balcony! The father may or may not have known the mother did this. No sense guessing, and no sense holding back on the mother when we know her culpability crystal clear.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Another avoidable accident, tragic but preventable, the parents should be charged up on child neglect.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I certainly place blame on the parents, but what of the kids? Even my one year old daughter understands the concept of gravity and will not go near the stairs in our house. She knows that what comes up must come down, and when she falls it hurts! How can a 3 year old not know that? High places are dangerous, kids!

-20 ( +6 / -25 )

My wife left my young son alone one time, and when I asked her about it, she said this is normal in Japan. With the lack of family support, and the non-existence of baby-sitting, J-moms are over-stressed, and under-supported. With the average father working early a.m.s to late into the night, moms are on their own. And if a baby sleeps, it is a rare opportunity to run out and grab some food. This is not to excuse the mother, but a little understanding and empathy may be directed toward easing this burden. The government says, we need babies, but have done almost nothing to alleviate this situation. (My wife didn't do that again, at least I didn't know of it.)

3 ( +12 / -9 )

The culture excuse ran thin ages ago. Thats how everyone here avoids jail time, "Its a cultural thing so it`s ok." A child died and someone is responsible. Very simple. The mother left him alone not the parents.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The fact is this sort of tragedy happens all to often in this country and is more often than not caused by stupid (yes there is no other word for it) parents. Who in their right mind goes out and leaves a 3 yo home alone. Who has a 3 year old and lives in a high rise without child proofing the balcony... Seriously get with it

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Is there where someone gets to chime in about the neglect that is so rampant here?! Out shopping?! If your child is so much of a burden that you can't strap them in a stroller and take you with you or put them in the care of someone who will look after them, don't have kids! That easy. Babysitters, yochien... All places that allow SAHMs the time to go shopping, run errands...

So can dad sue mom for this like parents sue schools for neglect?! Poor husband and stupid,stupid mother. There is no excuse for this. None. Please no one bother to defend this woman. What she did isn't defendable.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

"Since when are mothers the only one responsible for their children."

I guess you've not been reading the SAHMs threads which basically state that mothers are the only ones who can. Are, nature... a child properly. Thank god not all of them think this but in the past few months a few have been pretty vocal that this is a mom's job and no one else's. Talk about sexist...

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

How can a 3 year old not know that? High places are dangerous, kids!

Please - tell me you are not blaming a 3 year old for waking up alone and scared finding Mummy missing, and going out on the balcony to look for her?

My wife left my young son alone one time, and when I asked her about it, she said this is normal in Japan. With the lack of family support, and the non-existence of baby-sitting, J-moms are over-stressed, and under-supported. With the average father working early a.m.s to late into the night, moms are on their own. And if a baby sleeps, it is a rare opportunity to run out and grab some food. This is not to excuse the mother, but a little understanding and empathy may be directed toward easing this burden.

Yes, all this is true, but you do NOT leave a young child home alone EVER no matter what the excuse. Yes, it is a pain in the arse to take a 3 year old shopping with you. But you do it anyway because that is what being a parent is all about. I dont care how stressed or undersupported anyone is - child safety comes first. ALWAYS. That is your number one job as a parent.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Can care, damn it.

And sorry Mito but j housewives live in luxury compared to many other women who care for kids. If being a housewife and carrying for kids is too stressful... God help us all in this country. Is it easy?! No. But claiming stress as an excuse to leave a child alone at that age?! Horrific.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Some of the comments here are way off the mark, - the father was at work and should be equally responsible, racist, sexist, unavoidable accident ??????? Ya say what ????? the father was at work for %^&s* sake, racism doesnt come into it nor does sexism, and its very far from being na unavoidable accident.

It is deliberate child neglect resulting in death, the mother should be jailed for no less than 10 years and then sterilised.

Father should be counseled and given support if he needs it.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

RIP little guy sorry your mother never gave a care about your life!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

yes the other was shopping, but the father was absent from home just the same. Since when are mothers the only one responsible for their children.

If there was a nanny supposed to be looking after the child, the nanny would be responsible. If the child had been in yochien or hoikuen, the staff would have been responsible. As it is, in this particular case, at this particular time, the mother was the person who was responsible for keeping the child safe, and she absented herself. I agree totally with tmarie about putting the child in a stroller or in the care of someone capable of looking after it while she went shopping. The bit about Dad suing Mum is silly on several levels; if she's a sahm, her money is his money anyway, he'd basically be suing himself; and even if she had independent means, no amount of money will bring the little one back.

RIP, little man.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Very sad and all to common in this country.

I'm shocked he died LATER at the hospital, not right after falling 11 stories!

RIP little man.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Okay export, if you want to look at it that way, shouldn't moms also be held financially responsible?! if the agreement is that dad makes the money and mom looks after the kid, that is mom's job, not dads. Would you blame mom if dad didn't make the money? No? Than don't blame dad in this.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Robert Dykes: "but the father was absent from home just the same."

I'm not disagreeing on some of the points you made in your comment (regarding racism), but you can't pin this one on the dad as he was off at work, in the afternoon. Now, had he been given the child to take care of for the day and THEN went off to work and left the kid at home, I would say it's his fault. As it is this is the mother's fault.

I swear if it's not kids being hit by cars it's articles about kids left alone and falling from balconies. They need to put up netting on balconies so you CAN'T climb out. It's ugly, I know, but there are just TOO many cases like this happening lately. The worst part about it is we're seeing the result of yet ANOTHER example of a person choosing convenience over safety (not to mention breaking the law!). I'm sure the family is suffering enough as it is -- especially the mother -- but she needs to face charges of neglect and leaving a child unattended.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Another example that calls for compulsory parenting, safety and common sense lessons for all new parents. How many other avoidable accidents will we have to read about before someone in the government realizes that a huge 'knowledge and experience' gap exists with many new parents.

I say enact a new law that prevents the baby being taken home from hospital until both parents have attended the required number of 'Parenting' lessons (i.e. signed attendance records)

In doing so, we might save many avoidable infant and toddler deaths, and the parents will have no excuses if they continue to behave irresponsibly after being trained.

Another law should be introduced making it illegal to leave a child unattended until the child is mentally mature/aware to look after themselves.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Just sad and its happening too often in Japan. I say she be jailed for child negligence, there is no excuse for what she did.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Smithinjapan,

You are spot on, it is about time that the authorities got serious about this issue and forced the installation of childproof fencing on balconies and child proof locks on all doors and windows leading to the balconies. Not to mention getting tough on the parents that are caught leaving kids unattended.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I say enact a new law that prevents the baby being taken home from hospital until both parents have attended the required number of 'Parenting' lessons (i.e. signed attendance records)

Okay, while I understand why you are suggesting this, many parents aren't idiots and don't need such courses. Besides, idiots are idiots and I doubt that these forced classes would make them rethink leaving Taro home alone. You don't think they know the risk they are taking? They do but they don't care.

Until Japan starts charging parents for neglect and abuse, this crap will continue to happen. "The death of her child is punishment enough." No, it isn't. Charge this women for neglect, find her guilty and send a message to other parents.

The US version of this story has the child dead in the car from heatstroke while mom shops.

I take it this will be your first summer in Japan if you think it is only the US that has this problem. Pachinko places now have staff that monitor car parks because parents leave kids in the car to go and play. Some have childcare now - why? Because there has been so many deaths of small kids because idiot parents for some reason seem to think that a) leaving a child is okay and b) leaving them alone in a hot car is okay.

Charge her. I don't want a "Poor her, life is oh so stressful with kids" excuse that I always hear. Charge her and be done with it.

Now, if I was her hubby, I don't think I'd be able to forgive her. Divorce, divorce, divorce. How can you trust someone after that?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

wow my grandmother raised 11 without the benefits we have these days, you didn't here back then about stressed out mothers.

@kevinintokyo i hope so, or now see has free time to go to the pachinko? :O

You don't live a small child alone period! R.I.P.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Whilst this particular mother is clearly utterly feckless, and irresponsible, there is no way you can tarnish all SAHM's with the same accusation. Whereas this particular mother totally neglected her duties, this is ONLY this particular mother and her useless ilk. For all you know, tmarie, she worked part time and was too tired to bother caring for her children, eh?

There is no information saying if she worked part time, full time or was a sahm, and the only thing relevent to the discussion is the fact she should never have left the child at home alone, and strapping him into a pushchair was of course the correct course of action.

Marie, this story is not about who earns the money in the household - a particular bugbear of yours, but the terrible, avoidable death of a little child, who deserved much better. RIP, little one.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Just broke another keyboard because of this story. Stupid, idiotic simpleton should be held accountable for the harm she caused.

Rest in peace little one.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@ tmarie. Exactly that's my point. If the parents have had the required lessons and continue to act irresponsible, throw the book at them and prosecute. It would be hard to use any excuses... They couldn't claim "I didn't know, or it's our culture crap"...

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

tokyokawasaki: "I say enact a new law that prevents the baby being taken home from hospital until both parents have attended the required number of 'Parenting' lessons (i.e. signed attendance records)"

There are a couple of problems with this. First, people who are responsible will have already learned a lot of what they need to know leading up to the baby's birth (they can't actually KNOW for sure until they have the baby in their arms, of course). Second, and more importantly, parenting differs very much in a child's infancy and then when they are toddlers, so they would need to go back for 'refresher' courses, or advanced learning.

Anyway, what REALLY needs to be done, aside from netting being put up, like I mentioned, is police need to start taking the issue more seriously. Obviously they can't go door to door checking if kids are at home alone (I think), but if they see a kid alone in a car, or know a kid's alone at home, or if worst comes to worst, a child dies in this manner and they know after the fact, they need to enforce current laws and get tough on these people.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Fair point. I'm just thinking that the last thing a woman wants to do after she's had a baby is sit in classes and be taught basic baby skills 101.

That being said, many city halls offer such type of classes. For free. How many take them up on the offer....

0 ( +3 / -3 )

While this is a tragedy. It did not occur becuase of the race of people involved. And yes the other was shopping, but the father was absent from home just the same. Since when are mothers the only one responsible for their children.

It's been like that since Japanese family law made it that way. It's the way the government of Japan wants families to be structured. In the event of a divorce the woman takes EVERYTHING. Yet when there's some negative responsibility involved she takes nothing of that.

The man was at work....exactly where all the women want them to be. He shares NONE of the blame in this situation. It's totally the mother's fault and she should have been arrested a day ago but it would seem she's not. Too many times women have been allowed to kill their young and claim mental illness and stress to escape the responsibility for their actions.

Once again it's not the father's fault at all. It is unfair to structure society so that he has no place in his own home then blame him when these kinds of tragedies occur.

Don't throw the book at them....throw the book at her.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

What a stupid mother! Shopping is more important than looking after own child.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Last year I rented a flat in Chiba prefecture and the balcony was terrifying. I was only 5 floors up but to me the concrete sides seemed to be pretty low. I suffer from vertigo so maybe I have a false impression of it, but it didn't look particularly safe to me. It's easy to see how a little child could fall.

As for the mother, yes she was negligent, but there needs to be a law which states that children under a certain age may never be left alone. In the UK there is no age limit, but here is what the law states:

"There is no legal age limit for leaving a child on their own, but it is an offence to leave a child alone if it places them at risk. Parents can be prosecuted if they leave a child unsupervised ‘in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health’ (Children and Young Person’s Act)."

Maybe the Japanese need something like this? RIP little boy.

(Oh and I agree - delete the racist remarks)

0 ( +2 / -2 )

, this is ONLY this particular mother

How that ? Is not any mother that had her own children smarter that "non-parents" ? If we believe you, that could have the case the kid would have been in a care center, where they would not have got the safety inspection checking they had secured the windows, and all the staff left to go shopping or for lunch break. As you explained us that putting a child at care center would be "tantamount to neglect".

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Cletus

Japs and Nips are what my grandfathers, who both fought against them in the war, used when referring to the Japanese. Neither of them ever used it in a neutral of friendly fashion, I can assure you. Where I live, it's only the old diggers who use it, and they come from a time and place where things were different. The world has moved a long way down the road since then.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What kind of useless good for nothing parent leaves a 3 year old alone at home??????!!!!!!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

You don't leave a 3-year old home alone unless you are mentally ill or seriously immature. If you've been around a small kid since birth, you know things can and will happen. It is your responsibility as a parent to reduce the risks. It's as simple as that. Since we don't have all the details about this case (age, mental state of said woman, etc) I can only guess that something is terribly wrong with this mother.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@Bicultural : Every human being is unique, especially CHILDREN, that's why they are kids , and that's why we have Adults and Children... If your 1 year old child understands the law of gravity, good for your kid, but don't expect all children to be the same, Children need guidance from adults they can be sometimes be playful and try dangerous things for fun that's why they need guidance. I bet this kid knows the law of gravity too, but maybe he was playing and fell accidentally.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

expect more of these things, the young generation of Japanese mothers...especially when these Gyarus/Gals become mothers..there will be more of these kinds of terrible news about children.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I've said it so many times but Japanese don't seem to have the ability to think "What if.."

I feel terrible for the mother and the father and the grandparents etc etc, but really - what is the point of 12 or 15 years education if the result is that a person can go out shopping and leave a 3yr old behind - esp if they have access to the balcony - and esp if there's something to climb on. It's like 3 strikes on that one.

This was an accident waiting to happen. If it was possible for the 3 yr old to climb up the laundry rack, then theoretically, the child could have died when the mother was in the bathroom, or even cooking in the kitchen.

we have to teach people to just think!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Some of the poster must be really pitiful persons, cause they see only bad things in this country and had to stay there for whatever reasons. Perhaps they dont look around so much too, cause things like that happen everywhere p.e. here in Austria and in Germany, even when we have here a much better support for mums and spec. single mums than in Japan. One of the things I really dislike is talking clever like p.e. you should not let your child alone for one second - this is sometimes simply not possible like going to the phone, toilet, doing your houshold etc. you cant always see what happens.

Sure, there are terrible parents but not everyone who`s losing a child like that is simply bad.

Would someone of you say things like that face to face to the reg. person or are some simply unpolite cause they can hide behind their nickname?

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

It still blows my mind when I try to think about what the mother was thinking. And how on earth did the kid get out on the balcony and do what he did? Why are there no safety locks?? I can tell you I just cleaned my balcony for the first time in ages and there was so much crap built up that it would have been super simple for a kid to climb and fall over the balcony. Even 'clean' there's still enough stuff on it to allow a kid to climb up and fall. The space is so narrow, and the storage IN the apartment so little that you just can't avoid putting stuff outside. Granted, I don't have kids so it's no problem, but for those who do, and those who leave them to go shopping.... tsk tsk.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

yasukuni

I've said it so many times but Japanese don't seem to have the ability to think "What if.."

That"s ccertainly true with TEPCO and their Fukushima plant?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Lilith, there's a big difference between going to the toilet or phone and leaving a 3 year old alone in the house when you go out shopping. The fact is that small children are left alone far too often in this country, often with tragic consequences. Do you think that's admirable?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's not often that I agree with the majority of posters in a JT news thread, but yes, Japan needs to start getting tough. Unfortunately for humanity, the vast majority of humans are stupid and dumb as bricks. Without being told outright, they would make silly mistakes all the time - and this is the type of mistake that leads to tragedy. Democracy is all well and good, but governments also need to realize that unregulated freedom is a death sentence for many innocent people. There is no such thing as common sense - the word "common" implies that majority of the people have it. In actuality, most people don't.

People need to be free and have their innate rights protected, but campaigns and propaganda on the governmental scale can be used to minimize this kind of tragedy. Giving up a certain degree of personal liberty to make society as a whole more aware of certain silly mistakes will go a long way to making life better for everyone.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Admirable??? Is this just a rhetorical question? Cause not. But this happens and belive me, I just had to check our newspapers just for one week not only in Japan. And I had to remind you that I said, that the support for mothers with small children is not as good as in my country.

My sisters and brothers were brought up at a farm in Austria and belive me, there was such a lot of work and we were so wild, that our parents were not always able to look after us. When I now think of all the things we did, taking also the small ones with us, I wonder why nothing really bad happenend.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Lilith12 - we don't all think the Japanese are careless or unthinking, although I admit there are a few who seem to think that. I honestly think that people are just upset that this was something that could have been prevented. Japanese mothers are the same as any other mother, and just like any country Japan has a number of stupid people who don't think about the consequences of their actions.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Young children don't sense danger like an adult does .Never leave them alone.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It is never okay to leave young kids alone unsupervised. Parents all over the world get stressed out and tired from looking after their kids from time to time. Parents in Japan do not have the monopoly on that however, Indid notice a whole 'taihen' approach towards being a mum amongst quite a lot of my Japanese parent buddies.

-5 ( +0 / -6 )

Another one?? So tragic that all these deaths have been happening so often lately. RIP, and may your parents be a lesson for the rest of the would-be negligent parents.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

WHY?!!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Parents should never leave their children at home alone! RIP poor little boy...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The mother did not 'abandon' the little boy, she went out shopping... which is still negligent. Abandonment implies never coming back for the child.

Basically she was negligent and should be prosecuted for that if anything, but the fact she has lost her child should be punishment enough. What will throwing the book at her achieve? She has to live with the guilt and the pain of her actions. She doesn't need an angry mob carrying pitchforks and torches.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Readers, no crime has been committed. Instead of trying to lynch the mother, why not offer your condolences to the family instead?

Yep, it is pretty easy to understand the rage and disgust of foreigners, myself included, but if you talk to a Japanese person about leaving kids alone you will find most if not all have spent a large part of their childhood unsupervised. Many adults have told me about how they used to come home from 1st or 2nd grade elementary school and be home alone till their parents got home around 9pm. And just about everybody has been left at home alone as a toddler while mum went shopping or they were left in the car. Evey time I go to a department store or supermarket I see at least one kid siting in a car. The Japanese will tell you it is part of their culture and my answer is always the same, "It is not Japanese culture! It is a complete lack of culture!"

4 ( +6 / -2 )

they never learn...stupid parents!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Dennis, Seems to me these old grandmas who raised a whole bunch of kids should be teaching the younguns common sense.

@Smith "Even 'clean' there's still enough stuff on it to allow a kid to climb up and fall. The space is so narrow, and the storage IN the apartment so little that you just can't avoid putting stuff outside. Granted, I don't have kids so it's no problem,"

You got it. But that's the point - you don't have kids. Life changes when you have them. If you can't fit your stuff in your place without putting it on the balcony, you throw it out. There's always going to be a time when a safety lock isn't on.

If you have kids, every day you remember Murphy's law. I had nothing on my balcony. And if you have kids you realize that each month they get bigger and clever and therefore, more likely to kill themselves.

But, I am completely opposed to a mother like that getting charged. No point in that. Her suffering is more than you can all probably imagine.

I don't think people should go to jail for mistakes or lack of wisdom.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Thunderbird2

The mother did not 'abandon' the little boy, she went out shopping... which is still negligent. Abandonment implies never coming back for the child.

Putting aside the argument over grammar, this woman did abandon her child. She left it unsupervised while she went shopping. She caused the death of this child simple as that. Whether you call it abandonment or sugar coat it and call it neglect that is beside the point.

Basically she was negligent and should be prosecuted for that if anything, but the fact she has lost her child should be punishment enough.

Im sorry but why is this all about her? What about the poor kid that is dead, the kid that never gets to live its life, enjoy lifes ups and downs. What about the father, he lost his child, what about the grandparents and friends that this womans actions robbed of the ability to see this child grow. You really think her grief is enough of a punishment, l dont, l think she should me charged if possible with negligent homicide and serve jail time. She is whole and solely responsible for the death of this kid the same as if she was driving a car and hit and killed him.

What will throwing the book at her achieve? She has to live with the guilt and the pain of her actions. She doesn't need an angry mob carrying pitchforks and torches.

Nope but she does need to sit down and realise her actions without a bunch of molly coddling do gooders say oh dear you have suffered enough lets not punish you for your immense stupidity and the fact you killed your kid.

Harsh? Maybe but damned justified....

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

this is so sad and so preventable. now we see this at least once a week.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I bet the mom will never forgive herself for the rest of her life. Don't forget that the negligent parents are such a minute proportion of japan's 128 million people.

The reason why this makes it to the news is because this is such a rare example.

Consistent negligence is one thing but making a mistake once is horrible.

I hear stories from people in Canada / US where people leave thier kids in the car while they run into a store just because they dont want to wake them up. That could lead to calamity but doesn't necissarily constitute negligence. Just a stupid decision that lead to a horrible outcome.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

when i read this i almost threw up. not from the irresponsibility of the mother, nor from the fact he fell 11 floors to the ground below, but from the fact he was still alive when they took him to that hospital... to be just 3 years old and in that much pain... its unbearable to say the least.

this kind of negligence is UNACCEPTABLE

it tears my heart up every time i see a story like this.

children are supposed to be the light of every paren'ts life, a precious gift that needs loving attention to nurture it into a good person, but sadly this 3 year old will never make it to adult hood..... rest in peace little one..

0 ( +1 / -1 )

JoshuYaki

Just a stupid decision that lead to a horrible outcome.

That IS the definition of negligence. The number of times one is negligent only affects the probability that someone will be injured or killed as a result. Being negligent once is as serious as routine negligence, especially when it comes to safeguarding children.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Once again,Negligent Parents.I can't read to many more of these stories. Sad Sad Sad.RIP.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I wonder how many of the people baying for blood in this thread are actually parents themselves. Pachinco playing parents deserved to be flamed, but this mother ... my heart goes out to her. She made a mistake for which she will pay for the rest of her life. Leave her alone.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Just two words: Common sense...or, in this and many cases like it, lack of....

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@ Geoff: we all make mistakes ... as far as we know she just popped out to grab a carton of milk while her three year old was sleeping. There, but for the grace of God, go I. I've got a three year old boy myself and he is sleeping while I'm typing this. Am I negligent and deserving of the full force of the law in the unlikely event that he throws himself off our balcony?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Adrian Beard

This mother shouldn't have gone shopping if for whatever reason she felt that her destination was a place where she couldn't take her 3 year-old. It shouldn't have even been a decision. It should have been as simple as, "He can't go? ThenI can't go." Instead, she made the conscious decision to do the irresponsible and dangerous thing. I don't know what else to attribute this besides stupidity. She made a mistake all right, but your sympathy shouldn't be with the mother who as you put it will be paying for the rest of her life. It should be solely with the boy who already has paid for her mistake with his life.

Wonder no more. I have three kids, 12, 10, and 3.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ Thunderbird2 ... well, are you a parent?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@ Thunderbird2 ... well, are you a parent?

No, I'm not, but I wasn't the one suggesting she should be lynched. You are in the house, you know what your child is doing... this woman left her child alone and unsupervised. Different situation Adrian.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

At USNinJapan2 Okay, you have a voice in this discussion as far as I'm concerned, and I've got two kids myself. How many times have you picked up an elastic band and thought, that's a choking hazard; lucky I found that, or gone to a children's playground as seen how many things that could happen that could seriously injure your kids and thought, thank goodness he/she didn't fall down there. As I said, "there but for the grace of God go I" (or maybe you too, when you think about it). BTW as you know, three year olds are pretty savvy usually.

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Adrian Beard

Am I negligent and deserving of the full force of the law in the unlikely event that he throws himself off our balcony?

The questions you should be asking yourself is, would YOU leave your son sleeping alone in your house right now to go shopping? What are the odds that he won't wake up while you're gone? Then again, what are the odds that he might wake up, realize you're gone and become terrified, and fall off the balcony or run out into the street and get hit by a car? Are you willing to accept those odds? In my opinion, it's our job as parents to do everything we can (often by our own sacrifice) within reason to ensure that those odds are as close to zero as possible and something as basic as choosing not to go shopping because your toddler will be left unattended is well within reason for a parent.

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Adrian

I'm not saying that we can prevent everything harmful from happening to kids. But, I do draw a line between failing to prevent your kid from falling off the jungle gym or swallowing a rubber band, both things that can happen while they're under supervision, and this case. Could this boy have fallen from his balcony even with his mother at home? Yes, and we've actually read about such cases here before, but they happened because the child wasn't under supervision even with a parent present. Whether it's at home or out and about, the primary factor that prevents a child from getting hurt is the attentive supervision of a parent. By leaving the house to go shopping and leaving her son alone, this mother ensured that that critical factor was ZERO, and that's what I find inexcusable. She would have my sympathy if her son had died from swallowing a rubber band that she'd missed when she last vacuumed the house because that would have been simple negligence. What she did was gross and willful negligence which in my eyes and the laws carries a heavier weight of culpability.

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@ thunderbird2 : my apologies ... Your posts, were reasonable though not compelling arguments now I look back.

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And why do people with kids want to live on the 11th. floor (or wotever)? Surely there are alternatives

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Why couldn't the Mother take the child with her?

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@US inJapan2 I think that my point was, but there for the grace of God go I. If one of your kids choked on a rubber band, you might feel that you were not responsible , but there would be nasty comments about your parenting none the less on forums such as this. As I said before, "shopping" might have meant popping out for milk, which in Tokyo means 5 minutes trip to the local Convenience store. Truthfully, I can see myself doing that ... and I don't envisage my son panicking ... Not even crying actually. It's true that I've never done that, but I will one day.

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Tears in Heaven

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Kids gotta fly one day "almostshat"

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OK seriously as above first comment said...can we stop with a child dying every week either hit by a car or by neglecting foolish parents!!! sigh..

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Parents are humans, too, and can have attention lapses. It's unrealistic to think those in charge of children will be able to keep at least one eye on them every single moment. Keep furniture away from windows so they aren’t more accessible by little ones. A crib beneath a window provides the perfect opportunity for a curious toddler to explore the world. A dresser near a window is easy for an unattended child to scale and topple out of. Window guards can be installed to ensure the window does not open more than ten centimetres. Window locks and stops or bars are other options. Patio doors need guards. All of these devices should be childproof yet be easily removed in the event of a fire. Even with preventive measures, proper supervision is critical.

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The local goverment of Tokyo should enforce stricter building code on high rise apartments and condos by installing strong metal window guards and patios with higher metal guards with less gap on all buildings. Even though it is costly, in the long term, the installation of these permanent safety guards on the windows and patios will save alot of childrens life. Some of these high rise apartment owners have difficulty financially to pay for this but J-goverment should offer additonal tax breaks.

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With every problem in the world, there is a solution. If every commenter on this forum posted one idea and collaborated upon those ideas together then you may just save a life.

At 3 years old, even though we are programmed to fear heights by instinct, we are still mindless nulls. We don't register danger the same way as someone who is older and who has been in minor accidents. I have no doubt that many parenting brochures etc neglect to mention or are not even provided to new parents. If every parent was told after birth "X amount of children die every year from X,Y,Z" I'm certain lives could be saved.

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Adrian Beard

..."shopping" might have meant popping out for milk, which in Tokyo means 5 minutes trip to the local Convenience store. Truthfully, I can see myself doing that ... and I don't envisage my son panicking ... Not even crying actually.

Maybe this mother thought the exact same thing before heading out herself. We'll never know...

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Keep things in perspective. #1 Japan is a very safe place for kids. #2 Most preventable children's deaths come from car accidents and Japan has the best public transportation system in the world; next is drownings, then burns, then falls. #3 This is in the news because there isn't stories of kids getting shot in drive bys or worse.

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@sjf33, yeah parents can make a slight mistake sometimes..... but Leaving a 3 year old kid alone in the house is not a good idea! She could've brought the kid with her while shopping, she is not single anymore! that's why having a kid is not just having a doll! it's a responsibilty! if the kid is 7,8 or 10 years old, yeah maybe she can leave him/her alone at home , not ideal but maybe yeah.. but a 3 year old!!!! come on! why is it hard for you guys to admit that this is the mother's fault!? let's face the reality, some parents are irresponsible!

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How can a mother have no common sense to know that it could be dangerous to leave a 3-year old on his own?

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3 year olds don't have a mature sense of time or good short-term memory because their brains and bodies are developing so fast. I've seen it in my work with 3 year olds. I teach one-on-one for 50 minutes and a lot of children 3 or 4 years old have no problem separating from their parent in the beginning, the parent says "I will be back after the lesson is over" and the child has been to 20 lessons now so this is not a new routine, but one or two times during the hour they WILL ask "Where's Mommy/Daddy? Are they coming now?" Some of them will try to head for the door! So dropping out for "only 5 minutes", even if you explain to the child in detail where you are going and how soon you will come back, is something you simply cannot do with a 3 year old. They WILL forget and they WILL look for you.

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Sad story, but I wouldn't live on the 11th floor with pets, let alone kids.

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I cant blame the mother please pray for her..beeing a mother in this country is unimaginable....no excuse but.....its a social problem and the government must do something about it. Know lots of mothers who let their children tend for themselves while out working.. good children has no problem but hyperactive kids ....oh !!!!!! Hope it wont happen again and mothers be a good neighbor so you can exchange favors with them.....

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KefkaPalazzoMAY. 16, 2012 - 10:30PM JST

when i read this i almost threw up. not from the irresponsibility of the mother, nor from the fact he fell 11 floors to the ground below, but from the fact he was still alive when they took him to that hospital... to be just 3 years old and in that much pain... its unbearable to say the least.

this kind of negligence is UNACCEPTABLE

it tears my heart up every time i see a story like this.

children are supposed to be the light of every paren'ts life, a precious gift that needs loving attention to nurture it into a good person, but sadly this 3 year old will never make it to adult hood..... rest in peace little one..

I was about to post something when I saw yours. This is everything and beyond of what I wanted to express. Thank You.

That said, my heart is once again in excruciating pain.

RIP little angel. May your mother see your face every night she goes to sleep.

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How could you leave your children unattended??

This is very painful to hear. I guess these were young parents (with no experience).

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I just found out that my daughter-in-law has been leaving my 20 month old grandchild at home alone while she shops. This is for a time period of an hour or two. I am beyond shocked, as that is considered child abuse in the US. Is this common that children are left alone? How common are accidents?

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