8-year-old girl dies after folding table collapses on her in SW Taiwan

8-year-old girl dies after folding table compresses her chest and neck in Chiayi, Taiwan

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Folding table. (Image from Chiayi Police)

Folding table. (Image from Chiayi Police)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- An 8-year-old girl died after she became wedged in between the metal bars of a folding table at her home in southwestern Taiwan, reported China Times.

Tragedy struck today at 4:30 p.m. in Chiayi County's Dalin Township when an 8-year-old girl playing in her room suddenly became trapped under a folding table which had collapsed. Despite the efforts of paramedics, they were unable to resuscitate her.

When her 6-year-old brother entered the room, he saw her being pinned by the table and called for his mother to help. When the mother pulled her daughter free, she was not breathing and had no pulse, and she called for an ambulance.

The Chiayi Fire Department said that at 4:30 p.m. they received a report that a little girl had been injured and was not showing any vital signs. When firefighters arrived, family members had already begun Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), which paramedics continued, along with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) as they rushed the girl to the hospital.

Buddhist Dalin Tzu Chi General Hospital said that the girls head, chest, and feet had been pinned by the folding table. Doctors said her face had turned black by the time she had reached the hospital.

After spending nearly an hour to try and resuscitate the girl, she was declared dead at 5:28 p.m. After being informed by doctors of the death of her child, the mother reportedly suffered an emotional breakdown, and repeatedly cried "she didn't die."

The girl and her family reportedly lived in a traditional sanheyuan (三合院), a traditional three-sided courtyard house. At the time of the incident, she was playing with her younger brother while their mother was taking an afternoon nap.

The girl was inside a room when the table collapsed, while her brother was outside in the courtyard and did not witness the accident. Police said that the girl was about 120 centimeters in height, slightly shorter than the folding table.

The preliminary assessment by the police is that the girl was choked to death after she became pinned under the folding table. However, the Prosecutor's Office will conduct a more in-depth investigation to determine the exact cause of her death.

In the wake of the latest incident, in addition to previous accidents involving folding tables, the Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection will assess the hazards of such tables and will notify companies that it will be conducting safety inspections, before holding a symposium with manufacturers over the design of the products. The bureau will also coordinate with the WTO on beginning inspections of imported products, and if there is no comment from member states during a two-month notice period, it will be begin product testing within six months, reported CNA.

The bureau pointed out that folding tables are equipped with safety locks, but that many consumers fail to pay much attention to such devices. If the safety locks are not used, folding tables can easily collapse if they topple over.

The bureau advised parents to keep folding tables out of reach of children and away from areas in which they play.