Adults unaware boy was missing

By Rebecca Malcolm

Relatives looking after a toddler in Tokoroa only discovered he was missing when police knocked on their door.

The boy, aged about 2, was found wandering in the Carrington Cres area of Tokoroa late on Wednesday night. The boy, who police described as cold, upset and disoriented, spent the night in CYF care after police couldn't find his caregivers.

It was only when they were knocking door-to-door the next morning that his relatives opened the door and discovered the toddler was missing. The case is the second one in as many days where a youngster has wandered off while their caregivers have been asleep and has prompted a reminder from police for parents and those looking after small children to make sure their properties are secure.

Taupo police area commander Inspector Steve Bullock said with the warmer weather there was a temptation to leave doors, ranch sliders and windows open and people needed to be mindful of doing that if there were children in the house.

"Parents need to be mindful that young children are very mobile and also very inquisitive and things can change in an instant."

In the Tokoroa case, the toddler appeared to have wandered off through an unlocked or partially open ranch slider.

Plunket clinical advisor Allison Jamieson said those kind of incidents were rare, despite two recent episodes. However, she said some children could be real Houdinis and it was a good idea to explore your home from your child's point of view.

"Get down on the floor, at their level, and explore ways they might try to get out. Cat doors for example - they're not obvious to adults but they are to children"

She said adults shouldn't just concentrate on low areas.

"Some children are great climbers so it's a good idea to look at anything a child might be able to use to climb on or drag over to help them climb out a window or door."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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