SINGAPORE — Frustrated that a one-year-old girl placed under her care at a preschool refused to be fed, an infant-care teacher slapped the child twice and pushed her.

When her colleague noticed a red mark on the girl’s face and asked the teacher about it, she did not answer but instead placed an ice pack on the girl’s face.

On Wednesday (April 17), the 40-year-old was sentenced to nine months’ jail after pleading guilty to ill-treatment of a child.

A gag order is imposed on the woman, child and location of the preschool to protect the victim’s identity.

Speaking to the media after the court proceedings, the child’s father said while tearing up that he is “glad that this is all over… and my daughter has gotten justice”.

He cried in court earlier while watching the replay of a closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage showing the teacher pushing his daughter.

The Early Childhood Development Agency told TODAY last December that the preschool had terminated the woman’s employment on March 20 last year.

The agency also told TODAY that it issued a warning and fined the preschool operator for its failure to ensure its staff members “adopt appropriate child management practices”.

The woman has been barred from working in the preschool sector.


At about 5.20pm on March 15 last year, the infant-care teacher tried to feed the one-year-old girl during the preschool’s designated feeding time.

She rested the girl on a pillow and tried to feed her milk from a bottle, but the girl refused to drink.

Frustrated, she then placed her right leg across the girl’s lower body and her hands to prevent the infant’s hands from moving, before trying to force open the child’s mouth.

When the infant tried to wriggle away from her grip, she then used her right hand to slap the child forcefully on her right cheek twice.

She also pushed the infant, causing the child to land in a crawling position while crying.

The woman then carried the child back to her cot.

Later at about 5.40pm, the woman was changing the girl’s diapers when her colleague noticed a red mark on the girl’s right cheek. 

She asked the woman what had happened, but the woman did not answer and just placed an ice pack on the one-year-old’s face.

At 6pm, the woman ended work and left.

About 15 minutes later, the girl’s father arrived to pick up his daughter and saw the red mark on the girl’s face.

He was informed by a staff member that the girl had fallen from her cot, where she was found crying. 

The girl’s father demanded that CCTV footage be reviewed to properly determine what had happened. 

At around 7pm, the woman was notified that the girl’s father was upset. Questioned by her colleague, she then disclosed what had happened in the infant-care room.

She was suspended by the preschool the next day.

The one-year-old girl continued to go to the centre the next day and the mark on her face remained visible for a few days.

On March 20, the preschool terminated the infant-care teacher’s employment.

The preschool met the girl’s father about a week later on 28 March and he asked to make a police report.

That night, after the police report was made, the girl was taken to the emergency department of KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) for examination.

The next month, in a medical report dated April 17, a KKH medical officer noted that the girl was in “fair general condition”, with “stable” vital signs and no injuries found on the day of the examination, which was quite a while after the incident had occurred.

Referring to a photograph taken by the girl’s father on the day of the incident, though, the medical officer said that it seemed to show broken blood vessels on the child’s right cheek.

On Dec 5 last year, after police investigations were conducted, the former infant-care teacher was arrested, but released on bail the same day.


Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Hidayat Amir sought a sentence of nine to 10 months’ jail, calling for “deterrence and retribution”.

He noted that the child is “completely dependent on caregivers for her most fundamental needs” and the child is unable to communicate any ill harm or mistreatment.

If the woman managed to conceal the child’s injuries with an ice pack, her actions may have gone unnoticed, DPP Hidayat said.

“The accused’s turnaround as an aggressor instead of a protector is a perversion of that expectation and a gross abuse of trust,” he added.

The woman’s lawyer, Mr B Rajendraprasad from Regent Law LLC, pleaded for leniency on her behalf.

He said that she is remorseful and regrets her actions, and hoped that the court would grant her a fine instead of a jail term.

After the court hearing, the victim’s father told reporters in between tears: “She’s so small, she’s in the lowest 1 per cent (in size).

“Seeing the way she was physical with my daughter… you wouldn’t wish that on any child.”

He also showed reporters the picture of his daughter’s bruise he took a day after the incident, which was dark blue and covered her right cheek. 

When asked if the former teacher had apologised to him or his family, the father said that he was disappointed she had not done so.

“We just want to move on because it’s been mentally draining over the past year,” he added on behalf of his family. “We’re happy it’s over.”

For ill-treatment of a child, the penalty is a jail term of up to eight years or a fine of up to S$8,000.


Leave A Reply

© 2024 The News Singapore. All Rights Reserved.