I almost couldn’t read the story when I saw the headline: “A three-year-old boy has been found dead amongst the inflatables in a Queensland play centre.”
It is every parent’s worst fear. That million-to-one stroke of appalling bad luck. The death that happens on a normal day, when a family is doing something fun, in a place that is meant to be safe.
Hunter Young’s grandparents took him to Inflatable World in Toowoomba on Sunday as a treat. Soon afterwards, he was found unresponsive and suffering head injuries. He was given first aid and rushed to hospital, but on Monday, his parents made the heartbreaking decision to turn off his life support.
As a parent, you do everything you can to keep your child safe. You strap them into child safety seats in the car, you hold their hand as they cross the road, you put a helmet on them when they ride a bike, you take them to padded indoor play centres. But there are no guarantees. A random accident could steal them from you at any time. That is the fear that every parent has to live with.
Inflatable World. Image via Facebook.
Whenever a horrible, horrible tragedy like this happens, some people's first reaction is to blame the parents, or the grandparents, or whoever was looking after the child at the time. It has happened this time, with commentators on Inflatable World's Facebook page blaming the grandparents for not supervising the child.
"The relative should be charged with negligence causing death," one person posted.
I sit here wondering, perhaps, if blaming the parents or carers is the way some people deal with their own fear. "This only happened because the parents weren't doing the right thing," they tell themselves. "I always do the right thing, so it won't happen to me. I won't lose my child like that."