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Saturday 16 December 2017

Parents warned of fall dangers after toddler plunges 100ft to death

Baby Nikola Batare fell from apartment in Cross Guns Bridge
Baby Nikola Batare fell from apartment in Cross Guns Bridge
Marina Batare, mother of baby Nikola
Nikola's stepfather Mustansar Hussain

Gareth Naughton

A CORONER has warned parents and landlords to be "acutely aware" of the danger of children falling from high-rise buildings.

Dublin coroner Brian Farrell was speaking at the inquest into the death of 15-month-old toddler Nikola Batare, who died on August 3 last year after she fell to her death from the top floor of the Cross Guns Quay apartment block in Phibsboro, Dublin.

She died as a result of severe head injuries sustained in the fall.

Returning a verdict of death by misadventure, Dr Farrell said that this was the "third or fourth" inquest in recent years where a child has fallen from an apartment block.

"Landlords of tenants with children and, indeed, parents need to be acutely aware of the dangers to children of windows that are not secure or childproofed," he said.

He said he would be writing "once again" to the Private Residential Tenancies Board to emphasise the need for childproofing on windows in "high-risk buildings".

The court had earlier heard that Nikola's mother Marina Batare, originally from Latvia, forgot to close the sash window in the living room of the sixth floor apartment – which could only be opened from the bottom – after feeding pigeons.

She discovered the baby had fallen through the window after frantically searching the apartment.

She told the court she had been in the bedroom cleaning up another child she was babysitting while Nikola's stepfather, Mustansar Hussain, originally from Pakistan, was cooking in the kitchen. When she returned to the living room Nikola was nowhere to be found.

It was only after Ms Batare pushed a chair up to the window and looked to the ground below that she discovered what had happened. She then rushed down to her daughter.

"She was blue and not moving. I tried to call her but she did not move. Then I panicked and cried and shouted," she said.

Gardai cleared the roads to Temple Street Hospital as paramedics tried to resuscitate the baby but she was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

Mr Hussain said that normally the window would have been closed but that Ms Batare had told him following the incident that she had forgotten to shut it after leaving food out for pigeons.

Ms Batare said that the window was not open enough to allow a baby's head to go through but that her daughter was "very sharp and learned everything fast".

The matter was initially treated as suspicious by gardai.

However, Sergeant John Byrne said that there was no evidence to suggest that the incident was "anything other than a tragic accident".

Irish Independent

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