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January 23, 2013

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Parents suing ayi for baby's death appeal verdict

THE parents of a five-month-old twin, who was choked to death by milk, allegedly due to a babysitter's negligence, have filed an appeal with the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court over a local court's ruling in the case.

The couple are unhappy that the compensation amount - 100,000 yuan (US$16,070) - that the ayi, who was not identified, was asked to pay by the local court was nowhere near the 860,000 yuan they want.

Li Feng and Xiao Qin were on top of the world when they welcomed the twins, a boy and a girl, on January 13 last year.

As both of them worked, they retained the ayi, who took care of Xiao during her pregnancy.

They paid the ayi 3,500 yuan per month to look after the younger twin girl and brought her back home on holidays and weekends.

But tragedy struck the family on June 17, when Xiao got a call from the ayi who said something was wrong with the girl and that she kept crying. But after a while, the girl stopped crying and the ayi put her on the bed.

"I thought she was unaccustomed to the new environment. I did not think that she was choked by milk," Xiao told the court.

When the ayi found that the baby did not snore in the night, she checked on her and discovered that she wasn't breathing. She then called the ambulance and sent the girl to a nearby hospital. Doctors said the girl was choked to death by milk, the court heard.

The couple sued the ayi for negligence. The court also heard that the ayi was not charged by the police or prosecutors after investigation, the reasons for which are not known. The lower court also did not say if the ayi had faults.

Xiao said she interviewed 20 babysitters before picking on the ayi. The new mother admitted that she knew the ayi had no certificate but hired her because she was experienced.

The ayi told the court that she had no experience in babysitting except looking after her own daughter. "I was very fond of the girl. It was an accident. I really wanted to take good care of her," the ayi told the court.

The ayi said she was willing to pay compensation but not the amount that was being demanded by the couple as she was in poor condition.


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