One July afternoon, Ohio mom Ashley Bilek put her two-year-old daughter Madelynn down for her afternoon nap with her trusty pacifier, just like she did every other day.
Except on this day, Madelynn would receive a very painful injury in the safety of her own bed—from her pacifier clip.
As Bilek told Cleveland 19 News, she heard her daughter crying from her room, and went in to check on her. "When I picked her up she screamed and she grabbed her side. I lifted up her shirt and saw that she had this perfect circular wound on her. I didn't know what it was.”
Bilek and her husband took their child, who was clearly in pain, to the emergency room, with, cringe, a flap of skin hanging from her little tummy.
The deeply upset mom told reporter Carl Monday, "The doctor looked at it and said, 'That's a burn.’ I was like, 'I didn't burn her!' I showed her the clip and she said, 'Yeah, that's identical. It must have gotten too hot.’”
Unthinkably, during her nap, the child’s body heat had caused the plastic and rubber pacifier clip to adhere to her skin. Of course, if you are like me, you are wondering, WTF? This actually happens?
And you may be wondering what brand the clip was: It’s made by JJ Cole. News 19 reached out to the company for comment, and here’s what they said about the second-degree burn Madelynn received:
"Nothing is more important to us than ensuring that children's products are safe. At JJ Cole, we take our product safety responsibilities very seriously and are committed to making our products as safe as we possibly can. All of our products, including the referred to JJ Cole Pacifier Clip, meet US safety standards and undergo third party testing to further ensure we meet those standards. Our customer service department has been in contact with this consumer several times since her initial call, at which time we immediately began to investigate the incident. There have been no other reports of this type of incident or injury for the JJ Cole Pacifier Clip. The material used to make the product is a standard TPE, commonly and safely found in a wide variety of infant and children's products.”
Tanya Altmann, MD, a pediatrician in Calabasas, California, says this type of injury is possible. "This is one of the reasons why I don’t recommend pacifier clips and also make sure there isn’t anything hard or potentially dangerous or hard in a child’s sleeping space," she says. "It’s rare, but we see contact injuries such as this from kids sitting or sleeping on toys or sitting for too long in a car seat with something under them or from walking in shoes with straps too tight or that rub."
Despite there being no other reports of burns, what this family went through is truly horrific. They spent a week going to different medical professionals seeking help for their daughter, whose wound wasn’t healing properly. “Anything [like a bandage] that stuck to her just pulled off more skin. When she went to the doctor's office they had to rip all of her skin off and that caused even more irritation, so it kept spreading outward,” Bilek recounted.
Cue every mama’s lower lip popping out in empathy for this poor baby and her mom.
Thankfully, the family was sent to a burn care center, where Madelynn’s wound was effectively treated.
Now, the 2-year-old’s mama is speaking out to make sure what happened to her child, doesn’t happen to someone else. And for that, we are grateful!
Bilek told News 19, “When I went to the store and picked something off the shelf for my baby, I didn't think, you know, at the store you think it's safe. I wasn't thinking, 'What can this do to my kid?' I assumed that it was safe like we all hope when we buy something. I just think people should be aware of what happened. And what could happen.”
To minimize the chance of injury, Dr. Altmann suggests that you:
1. Keep an infant's sleep space safe and and empty. For toddlers and older kids, try to avoid anything hard that can press on skin or anything potentially dangerous.
2. Avoid hard pieces of anything pushing on your child’s skin, including toys, belts, shoe straps, and other clothing accessories.
3. Show any skin rashes, irritations, or burns to your pediatrician right away as immediate treatment can help prevent infection and scarring and help the lesion heal.
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