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6-yr-old girl critical after hanging herself on overhead ladder in park

37 Comments

A 6-year-old girl accidentally hanged herself Wednesday afternoon after the strap on her school safety helmet got caught in the bars of an overhead ladder at a playground in a park in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture. Ai Sugimoto was taken to hospital but remains in a critical condition, police said Thursday.

According to police, the girl got into difficulty as she was climbing the bars with her friends at 4:30 p.m. When her helmet strap got caught on the bars, she fell below and started to choke. Her friends ran to a neighbor for help.

Police said Sugimoto and other children are supposed to wear their safety helmets when they ride bikes. She was wearing the helmet because she came to the park by bicycle. The overhead ladder is about 1.5 meters tall, while Sugimoto is 1.2. meters tall.

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37 Comments
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Where are the parents or adult supervision?

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poor girl.. hope she recovers soon... another lesson for the kids..

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I would wonder if she was wearing her helmet correctly - or was it around her neck while she was climbing? I don't see how this could happen if it was on her head.

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That's a fine looking piece of playground equipment - in the tip-top condition one expects of public Japanese recereation facilties.

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I'm sure I'd be critical too, but how about some self-responsibility for once?

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The way I heard it the helmet itself got wedged in between the bars, leaving her dangling below it getting choked by the strap under her chin. Nasty business. I guess safety helmets aren't all that safe in some situations...

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Very sad, hopefully she will be ok. But also, Japanese children are not allowed to have fun. She shouldnt have been there in the first place.

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Unfortunately, this is not the first time such a thing has happened. Probably won't be the last one either. Up until now, the main culprit has been straps on school bags getting caught on something. This safety helmet development is something new.

Hope the girl pulls through...

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rjd_jr's comment sums it up.

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And for the second time this week, I'm in complete agreement with rjd

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rjd_jr's comments are completely wrong. I've heard of kids not being allowed to climb trees without supervision. Kids need to learn on their own. What has happened is unfortunate but playing without adult supervision is part of being a kid.

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I'm with 2020hindsight on that point. Hovering over your kids 24/7 is not the best way to raise them in my opinion. They need opportunities to learn how to look after themselves. I think this particular case is more of a freak accident, and sure, it may have been averted if an adult was there to help her straight away, but this can't be blamed on the parents.

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I agree with 2020hindsight. When I was 6 my parents weren't watching me every minute.

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In Japan, kids are generally allowed out to play with friends as soon as they enter primary school. It's great, because the kids get to play with their peers every single day, not like the poor kids in the West whose parents are so busy that the kids are lucky if they get one supervised "play date" with one carefully chosen peer once a month. The kids also develop independence, making them a lot more mature than Western kids, who often have to wait until they're in their teens before they're let out of their parents' sight because of all this crazy paranoia about child molesters.

Sure, tragedies will sometimes happen, but we can't protect our children from everything forever.

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Oh man, I wonder if they will ban helmets now.

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Playing unsupervised at 6 years old is common and not such a big deal. My concern is, what kind of helmet was it? Was it one of those ridiculous workman's helmets they make the kids wear? If the strap was long enough to become caught in the bars it was obviously poorly designed. New bicycle helmets for kids have a catch that is designed to let go if there is too much weight put on them like, having a kid dangling by the strap. This is yet another tragic accident that should never of happened.

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Tbe point is that childrens helmets for bicycle are to be used only for that purpose. Actually on the safety information for the helmet for my little boy it states clearly, that is should ONLY be used when riding a bicycle and NOT during playing.

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The headline used by JT is provocative and a disgrace and I suggest that it is edited promptly. She did not "hang herself". Her safety helmet strap got caught accidentally which resulted in her choking on the strap. I am growing a little tired of JT's tabloid-style gossip-mongering. She is only 6 years old for God's sake - show some respect.

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It's frightening how accidents like this can happen in a second.

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I guess people blaming the parents don't have kids. Kids can get injured in a heartbeat even with parents in attendance. (watch Kramer vs Kramer). As usual, another good opportunity for bitter people to vent against the Japanese. In reality it should be an opportunity to highlight a particular problem, and thankfully without a death. Yesterday my 4yr old was climbing monkey bars wearing his bike helmet and I was thinking how much safer he would be from a fall. Now I am alerted to a possible danger.

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Oh man, do you have to trade in your sense of humour to become a parent, or what?

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northlondon, Yes, she did hang herself, albeit accidentally. Would "6-yr-old girl critical after her helmet strap accidentally got caught in an overhead ladder in a park causing her to hang herself" be a snappier and more acceptable title for you?

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Senjin, I know exactly what effect the headline used has on a readership. When you first caught a glimpse of this headline what were your initial thoughts ? There is no mention of the word 'accidentally' in the headline and that is all they needed. I have worked in journalism myself, therefore I know what gutter journalism looks like. It's a disgrace and they should be respecting the family of this 6 year old girl. If it's 'snappy' titles you want try The Sun newspaper.

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I keep thinking that when a "kid" gets hurt an an ancient playground that these cities were supposed to have replaced all old dangerous stuff with new and safe stuff. BUT here I am,suprised again. City government will say they don't have enough money for it.

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New and safe stuff, fatloser? How do you think a new overhead ladder would have made such an accident less likely?

And I agree 100% with northlondon that JT is always publishing deliberately inflammatory articles and headlines, precisely for the purpose of getting of us foreigners worked up. I try to ignore it, but I suppose they want to be like the former MDN English pages.

As for the poor kid, I hope she lives, and I also hope she isn't disabled for life by her accident. If only one of her friends had stood beneath her and supported her weight.

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Let us hope she recovers soon. Insha Allah

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Damm it Dammit, why don't you think. Use your BRAIN. Safe stuff doesn't have edges for things to catch on. Did you catch that??????????????

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Where does it say that the bars had edges that have been phased out of the newer versions? They look as though they just have peeling paint to me, and the article - which is all I have to judge by but may be way off the mark - states that the straps got

caught on the bars

Says naught there about strange and unusual edges, but maybe the new version of "overhead ladders" don't have rungs, in fact perhaps they don't exist? Then you'd be right in saying that the newer ones would be safer, because if they didn't have any play equipment there'd have been nothing for the poor kid's strap to get caught on.

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For those without kids, do you know why an adult is at the park supervising his or her kids? So they can tell the doctor what happened. Accidents happen in split seconds. A child can be walking, trip, and cut their front teeth out. In this case, an adult could've run over and pulled the child free and she wouldn't be in critical condition, hopefully. But hovering over your child until she's 40 years old is no way to raise children.

And, Maff, Japanese kids are more mature than western kids? Maybe the kids but definitely not the teenagers.

Hope Ai gets well soon with no after effects but it doesn't look good.

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In Japan, kids are generally allowed out to play with friends as soon as they enter primary school. It's great, because the kids get to play with their peers every single day, not like the poor kids in the West whose parents are so busy that the kids are lucky if they get one supervised "play date" with one carefully chosen peer once a month. The kids also develop independence, making them a lot more mature than Western kids, who often have to wait until they're in their teens before they're let out of their parents' sight because of all this crazy paranoia about child molesters.

Sure, tragedies will sometimes happen, but we can't protect our children from everything forever.

Yep my 12 year old goes to the park and plays with all the kids from his class until the 5 oclock bell, of course all they do is DS or PSP so they really dont need to go to the park for that.. My 6 year old no way is he running around here without a parent or his older brother watching him, sorry but at 6 they dont have the greatest decision making process yet. As far as more mature, why would a child from a society that never grows up be more mature then any other kid??? I would think that most 6 year old children are just that 6 year old children...

I really hope this poor child makes it through and hope it doesnt happen again to a child that age.

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Borscht is right, when I was little I fell off the top of a slide, maybe about 9 or 10 feet above the ground, landing on my head on hard tarmac. My mum was standing right by the slide, but there was nothing she could do to prevent it.

I still remember thinking she was overreacting as I got up an climbed that ladder again.

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Would this latest headline make you think twice about letting your kids play in a park unsupervised?

"6-year-old boy found strangled in Fukuoka park"

And, his mother was there!!!

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very sad event, but it is by this kind of accidents that security may improve.

We will see in future some helmets with straps that breaks if there is too much traction on it.

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When I was 6, I bid farewell to my mom at 9:00 in the morning and didn't return until 5:00 for dinner. Is there anyone here who really thinks they can let their child do that today, anywhere in the world? The times have changed, albeit a 6 year olds thought process is probably not that different. Todays parents must find a balance between over-protection and neglect. A very difficult task indeed.

Hope this youngster recovers without any complications.

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I consider it to be ironic in a certain sense, the helmet that was supposed to protect the child ends up almost killing her. I wouldn't blame the parents or anyone, accidents happpen. Luckily she survived.

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it's not that hard to imagine, helmet was slightly bigger than the gap and she was left dangling. Hardly something to blame people about, just a typical accident like slamming the door on your hand.

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I'm sorry to hear about this, but it's a perfect example of "no accidents".Everything happens in just the way the conditions that exist determine that IT MUST HAPPEN. Take ANY EVENT and go backwards mini-step,by mini-step,and you will see it is true. Everything that happens on earth is a PLANNED EVENT. IT just wasn't planned by any human being.Remember "CAUSE AND EFFECT"? An "accident" would be an effect without a CAUSE. Every event follows the laws that dictate that event. We are living totally "programmed" lives. Just not programmed by us. I sincerely hope we're living out perfect justice.

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