Child left in school van for hours, falls into coma

A three-year-old kindergarten child from Samut Prakan has suffered brain swelling and is unconscious after being left in a school van for seven hours because her teacher allegedly forgot about her.

  • Published: 4/04/2013 at 06:00 PM
  • Newspaper section: topstories

Paveena Hongsakul, centre, consoles Rattana Nakhonsopha, whose three-year-old daughter has become unconscious after she was left in a school van for seven hours. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)

Rattana Nakhonsopha, 34, the girl's mother, said on Thursday that the van from Anongwet Kindergarten School arrived outside her house to pick up her daughter at 7.30am on Wednesday. 

The mother said a teacher called her later in the evening to tell her that her child was found unconscious inside the van at about 3pm and was sent to an intensive care unit at Muang Samut Hospital.

She said the teacher explained that her daughter got out of the van after it arrived at the school but returned to the vehicle because she forgot her school bag. At the same time, the driver, who was not aware of the girl, drove the vehicle to a parking lot next to the school and left it there in the heat for about seven hours.

"I don't completely believe that my daughter forgot her bag in the van, but I think she was sleeping in the vehicle and the teacher did not check thoroughly," Mrs Rattana said. "And now she's in a critical condition."

The child was later transferred to an ICU unit at Bangkok Hospital after her condition did not improve.

Photo by Apichit Jinakul

Dr Saowanee Chaisuparassameekul, a pediatrician at Bangkok Hospital, said the girl was put on a saline drip as she had suffered dehydration. An anti-epileptic drug was also given to her.

"The x-rays show that the child's brain is swollen and we've given her medication to reduce the swelling. She also has acidosis due to a lack of oxygen to the brain," Dr Saowanee said. "In this type of case, we'll have to wait for three days to see how much she reacts to the medication."

Paveena Hongsakul, founder of the Paveena Hongsakul Foundation for Women and Children, who visited the three-year-old and her mother at the hospital on Thursday, said she had asked the Samut Prakan police to record the child's case in their daily journal.

She also called on the Education Ministry to improve regulations regarding picking up and dropping off school students.

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