Even with her little body wrapped in bandages after suffering second-degree burns when she fell into a pot of boiling lentil peas, little Shazade Simon tried to console her worried relatives.
“Allyuh come back later, don’t cry,” the three-year-old Shazade could be heard saying in a video recording which has been shared on social media.
At the time, the child was sitting up on a bed at the San Fernando Teaching Hospital.
Unfortunately, Shazade died at the hospital on Monday, six days after the incident, leaving relatives shocked and heartbroken.
Shazade was accustomed to going to her grandfather’s vegetable and market shed at Morne Roche Road, Williamsville.
When her mother, Andelle Lazar, took her to the stall last Wednesday, a pot of lentil peas was being cooked on a firecracker on the ground at the back of the shed.
In an interview at the stall yesterday, Shazade’s aunt Marisa Brizan defended the family, saying the child was not left unsupervised.
She said there were several people in the shed and as soon as it happened, someone picked Shazade up, wrapped her in a damp towel and she was taken to the hospital.
Brizan said they believe her niece accidentally stumbled and fell into the pot.
“It is not like she was unsupervised. It had people here who were watching her. I came to go down the road and she was sitting on a chair. She was not just running around,” Brizan said.
According to the police report, Brizan’s mother had gone to the washroom when the accident occurred.
“She is always here (at the shed). She is accustomed, so she knows very well you don’t go there, but her mother was there, apparently she was going to meet her mother and she stumble,” she said.
Shazade’s death came a day after five-year-old D’amari Jeffrey drowned at the Fun Splash Water Park in Debe, prompting public criticism of the child’s mother and more public debate on whether parents are paying due care and attention to their children.
Stressing that it was an accident, however, Brizan said, “Nobody is going to pick her up and put her in a boiling pot of water. She fell in by mistake, big people does be walking and stumble and fall so she can’t stumble and fall too?”
While the police report stated that she was put in a bucket of water and taken to the hospital, Brizan said that did not happen. She stressed they wrapped her in a damp towel.
Shazade who attended the Mayo ECCE suffered burns to 25 per cent of her body around her buttocks and stomach. One of her hands also got burnt.
However, Brizan said she was in good spirits and they believed she would have been discharged soon.
“The day this child went in there she was moving around and talking and singing and everything normal. We started preparing the room to make sure she has a bed net and thing for when she came out because it is a burn,” she said.
Describing her as God-sent, she said Shazade was loved dearly.
“She was everything, intelligent, amazing, beautiful, wonderful, smart, brave, happy. She was gorgeous. She was fun.”
Brizan said they were not sure what caused her death but were awaiting the results of the autopsy.
The police report classified her death as accidental. Officers of the Child Protection Unit are investigating. Meanwhile, the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) yesterday stated that a preliminary report indicated that appropriate medical attention and care were advanced to the child.
Stating that it commiserated with the parents, the authority said an autopsy had been prioritised for today to determine the cause of death and better understand the circumstances. The SWRHA was also concerned about the video of the child taken while she was in the hospital’s care.
Put children first
In the wake of fatal incidents involving children, the Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago is again urging parents and guardians to put children first.
In a statement yesterday, the authority said activities involving children should be conducted under the careful supervision of a trusted adult, as children who lacked proper supervision were more exposed to accidents, harm and abuse.
Reminding the public that “child protection was everybody’s business”, the authority said everyone has a duty to keep children safe and to report any incident or suspicion of abuse to the police at 999 or the authority at 996.
It advised parents and guardians to keep hazardous liquids, materials, sharp objects, medication and anything that could potentially cause injury out of a child’s reach. Advising that they also keep a watchful eye on children when at the beach, river and pool, the authority said children should only be allowed to venture into or around bodies of water with an adult present. It said exposed water containers, buckets, barrels and tanks should also be covered.