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Girl, 5, has part of finger amputated after injuring it while using hand dryer 'without a vent covering' at ION Orchard

Girl, 5, has part of finger amputated after injuring it while using hand dryer 'without a vent covering' at ION Orchard

Kara lost half the index finger on her left hand after the incident at ION Orchard's Basement 4 toilet. (Photo: Nick Chia)

SINGAPORE: A five-year-old girl had to have part of one of her fingers amputated after she injured it using a hand dryer "without a vent covering" at ION Orchard shopping mall.

Her father Nick Chia told CNA that his daughter Kara was discharged from hospital on Friday (Dec 10) after spending more than three days in hospital following the incident.

The family had gone to ION Orchard on Monday night when the girl wanted to go to the toilet after dinner.

Together with a helper, the girl went to the toilet at Basement 4 of the shopping mall, next to the Awfully Chocolate store.

The helper was washing her hands next to Kara, who reached up to use the hand dryer.

Her index finger was "mangled" by fan blades in the dryer, said Mr Chia in a Facebook post on Friday. He said that there was no vent cover on the machine. 

“From her line (of) sight, she would be able to see the base of the hand dryer housing itself with a large gaping hole," he added.

"The little one, probably thinking it was a tissue dispenser or possibly even one of those Dyson 'put your hand in' kind of hand dryer, proceeded to put her hand in and her finger got mangled by the fan blades."

The damage on her finger was “extensive”, he said, with the hand dryer shattering the bones in her finger.

When the technical crew and management staff arrived, they could not find the right keys to unlock the cabinet housing the hand dryer, he added.

“They finally found one key to unlock the bottom lock, but further struggled to unlock the top lock. They eventually got the cabinet open by prying open the entire cabinet,” Mr Chia said.

The little girl was taken to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, where part of her finger was amputated. Her father told CNA that doctors could not "salvage" the finger.

“If they (ION Orchard team) just simply checked their equipment to ensure all protective and preventive attachments are present, this would have been an entirely avoidable situation,” he added.

The hand dryers at the Basement 4 toilet of ION Orchard. (Photo: Nick Chia)

Kara is now left with "slightly less than half her index finger" on her left hand.

“She would now stare in fear at any hand dryer or any paper dispenser in the toilet and would much rather wipe her hand on her own clothes than go near any of those items that were created to make our lives better,” he said.

A spokesperson for ION Orchard said the team at the shopping mall rendered "immediate assistance" to the girl.

"We sincerely regret to learn of the incident and are currently investigating the cause. As an added precautionary measure, we have checked all the hand dryers in ION Orchard to ensure their safety," the spokesperson added.

The team at the shopping mall are in touch with the girl's family and will "provide the necessary assistance".

"We take the safety of our shoppers and tenants seriously. Hand dryers are regularly checked to ensure they are in working condition and are replaced where necessary," the spokesperson said, adding that necessary checks were conducted immediately after the incident to ensure that all hand dryers are operating safely.

Source: CNA/mi(gr)


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