Six-month-old baby temporarily placed in Kowloon Bay childcare centre suffers mysterious brain haemorrhage

Telford Gardens Kindergarten

18th June 2024 – (Hong Kong) For the Leung family from Sha Tin, the joy of parenting turned to despair when their six-month-old son, Yuen Yuen, began showing alarming symptoms after spending a morning at a local daycare. The incident has sparked a police investigation and raised serious concerns about child safety in daycare facilities.

On the morning of 17th May, Mr. Leung dropped off his cheerful and seemingly healthy son at the Telford Gardens Kindergarten in Kowloon Bay, a facility chosen after careful consideration due to its reputation and proximity to their workplace. However, what transpired over the next few hours would turn their lives upside down.

At approximately 11.30am, the nursery informed Mrs. Leung that Yuen Yuen had vomited, suspecting he might have choked on his milk. By noon, when Mr. Leung arrived to pick him up, the child was vomiting again, this time displaying a pale complexion and showing signs of severe lethargy and weakness. Realising the gravity of the situation, Mr. Leung immediately rushed Yuen Yuen to Prince of Wales Hospital. Upon arrival, the child was urgently attended to by a medical team, as his oxygen saturation levels were dangerously low. Initial relief that his condition stabilised was quickly overshadowed by the results of further medical tests.

tabilized, and he was transferred to the paediatric ward for observation and rest. During his hospital stay, Yuen Yuen would experience projectile vomiting after every feeding. The doctors suspected it was not ordinary choking and promptly conducted computer scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests, which revealed bleeding in the frontal area of his right brain and the back of his eyes.

A CT scan and MRI revealed bleeding in the right side of Yuen Yuen’s brain and at the base of his eyes. Doctors outlined three potential causes: severe shaking, a high-impact fall, or a rare genetic disorder affecting blood clotting. After extensive genetic testing ruled out the latter, suspicion turned towards the time Yuen Yuen spent at the nursery.

Determined to uncover the truth, Mr. Leung reported the incident to the police. The lack of CCTV coverage in key areas of the nursery, however, complicated the investigation.

In response to inquiries, a spokesperson from the Social Welfare Department (SWD) stated that they are actively following up on the case. Social workers have already made contact with the family involved and will convene a multidisciplinary case meeting to develop appropriate welfare plans for the children and provide necessary support.

The SWD regulates childcare centres that provide care services for children under the age of three, in accordance with the Child Care Services Ordinance (Cap 243), Child Care Services Regulations (Cap 243A), and the School Administration Manual for Kindergartens. These regulations specify the requirements for the protection of children from abuse in childcare centres. Upon learning about the incident, the SWD dispatched officers to conduct surprise inspections at the implicated childcare centre to ensure compliance with registration requirements and the provision of appropriate care for entrusted children. The centre in question has also submitted a “Special Incident Report” as requested by the SWD. The SWD will continue to monitor the service provision at the centre and take appropriate follow-up actions.

According to the police, a 34-year-old man reported on the evening of 21st May, expressing suspicion of inappropriate treatment of his six-month-old child. Preliminary investigations classify the case as “ill-treatment or neglect of a child or young person in their care,” and it has been assigned to the Criminal Investigation Team 6 of the Sha Tin Police District for further investigation. No arrests have been made at this time, as the case is still under investigation.