Baby dies after improperly opened stroller is pushed by toddler cousin

SINGAPORE - A baby died from head injuries after his 21-month-old cousin pushed the stroller he was placed in. The pram, which had not been fully secured when opened by the infant's aunt, folded inwards and fell to the ground with him still inside.

The four-month-old, who cannot be named to protect his young cousin's identity, suffered three skull fractures and bleeding in the brain after the incident on March 2 last year. These were not obvious at the time, but he was found unresponsive with brownish fluid coming out of his nose the next morning, and later died in hospital.

On Wednesday, State Coroner Janet Wang found there had been no foul play in the baby's death, saying it had come from an "unfortunate unfurling of events".

She said that the safety of the pram had been compromised by its antiquated and rusty condition, which made it difficult for the aunt to engage the locking mechanism.

These made it more likely to collapse when force was applied, the coroner said.

Coroner Wang added that it could only be fully opened with considerable force from both hands.

The 29-year-old aunt, who was the baby's caregiver, had not done this when preparing to visit the supermarket with the two young boys in tow.

Outside the one-bedroom Housing Board flat in Commonwealth where they lived, she carried the baby in one hand and the folded stroller in the other.

She then kicked open the stroller and pressed it against the ground before putting her nephew in it.

But she was neither sure if the stroller was fully opened, nor if there had been a clicking sound, which would have indicated the locking mechanism had been engaged.

Her son held the stroller's handle and pushed the stroller forward before letting go. It fell to the ground.

According to a police investigation report submitted to the court, the baby's aunt did not know if he had hit his head against the frame of the stroller, or the floor.

But Coroner Wang said he had died from injuries to his brain and skull, which were consistent with his head hitting a hard surface.

"The unfortunate unfurling of events had wrested the life of the deceased (from him) before he could begin to live it," she said.

"It remains for me to extend my condolences to the deceased's family. It is hoped that time would assuage their grief."