About 10 minutes later, I received a frantic call from my wife that our daughter was missing. She had alerted the staff at our residential development who then mounted a search. I found our nanny and found it very difficult to understand her as she was Indonesian and spoke little Chinese or English. Anyway, she told me that our daughter ran into the large car park on the first floor. We searched large car park and podium and also the stairways from the top 48th floor downwards. Our apartment was on the 8th floor and all the time, I was quite confident that we would find her. It is very late when I started to panic when I realized that there was a real possibility that she might have left the residential compound.
It was then that I received a call from the police. They had picked her up from a highway many minutes earlier following a report by a coach driver. They brought her to our apartment and asked my wife to examine her to make sure she was unharmed. At the same time, they issued a warning to my wife saying that she would be charged the next time a similar incident occurred.
However, our ordeal was not to end. The very next week, she sneaked into the kitchen while we were not looking and swallowed half a bottle of paracetamol. We took her to the hospital straight away and she was put under observation for 6 hours. The resident doctor calculated that she had swallowed half the toxic dosage for paracetamol.
Right now, our concern is that we have completely lost control of the situation and that we could no longer look after her safely. We are looking at the possibility of putting her into a boarding school for children with special needs but that is a big decision. I was in charge of safety of the laboratory that housed the biggest collection of SARS viruses in the world. I knew everything about safety management, assessment and contingency planning and obviously I failed miserably at home.
Obviously we have a child with special needs with increased risks. But I would urge all those with young children or pets to be extra vigilant. You should assess the risks at home and also your procedure when you go out. If they do get lost, you should have a clear idea in your mind what to do. One thing we did not have were name labels on her clothes that could have identified her easily. Another thing we are going to look into is the possibility of tracking her through GPS but this is easier said than done here.