Autistic boy, 5, killed after fall from Abu Dhabi home

A five-year old boy with special needs fell to his death from his home's second-floor balcony on Saturday.

After climbing concrete pillar and aluminum barrier a child fell from the balcony of the second floor in a building in Abu Dhabi.
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A five-year-old boy with special needs fell to his death from the second-floor balcony of his Abu Dhabi home on Saturday.

The child, H?A, from an Arab country, left his room and went on to the balcony on Muroor Road without his parents’ knowledge, police said.

He cleared two barriers, including one that was a metre tall, before losing his balance and falling to the ground.

“From what we understand of the circumstances, the boy had autism,” said Brig Maktoum Al Sherifi, director of the capital’s police department. “We offer sincere condolences and sympathy to the family of the deceased.”

Brig Al Sherifi said an investigation into the child’s death was continuing.

The fall prompted police to urge parents to “child-proof” homes.

“All windows, balconies and corridors leading to them need to be locked and parents must always keep track of their children’s whereabouts,” said Lt Colonel Rashed Al Thahiri, of Abu Dhabi Police.

By law, parents must make all efforts necessary to protect their children. Previous cases in which children have fallen to their deaths have resulted in prosecution.

The charge of endangering the life of a child under 15 can carry a jail term of between one month and two years. The penalty can increase to three years if the child was left unattended at the time.

In September last year, Dubai Police called on the municipality to review its safety criteria for windows on high-rise buildings after eight children died in separate incidents in Dubai and Sharjah.

In March the Department of Municipal Affairs issued new rules ordering property owners to place protective devices on windows and balconies.