Accidents: "It Happened to Me"

Kids' curiosity helps them learn about the world around them, but it can also lead to some rather bizarre accidents. Parents readers share the unbelievable tales of their child's tumbles, burns, and other injuries.


emergency Andrew McCaul

"My daughter got burned by boiling water."

Jennifer Lynch went out to eat with her 7-month-old, Olivia. She asked for a cup of hot water for her daughter's bottle but was given a pot of boiling water. When Lynch wasn't looking, Olivia pulled the napkin that the pot was placed on, dumping the water onto her lap. Lynch ripped off Olivia's clothes, put cold water on her skin, then headed to the E.R. The docs sent them to a burn center, where Olivia was treated for second- to third-degree burns. Surgery was required on the deepest ones. "I want all parents to be aware of where others place hot liquids," says the Oakland, California, mom.

"My daughter burned her feet on bonfire embers."

The day after Sara Ericson hosted a neighborhood bonfire, her kids were playing outside and her 3-year-old daughter, Molly, started screaming. She had run across the ashes with bare feet—and they still had hot embers underneath. The Eau Claire, Wisconsin, mom put Molly's feet under cold water and rushed her to the E.R., where they learned she had first- and second-degree burns. Three months later, Molly is completely healed, but next time, Ericson will douse the bonfire with the hose as soon as it's over.

"My son was burned by coffee."

While Amanda Beckner and her family were staying at a motel, her then 2-year-old son, Chase, walked over to a low counter and reached for the pot of hot coffee sitting on top of it. Before Beckner could get to him, Chase spilled the coffee down his front. Beckner and her husband quickly put Chase under cold water, then rushed him to the E.R. Chase suffered second-degree burns from his collarbone to his hips. Fortunately, Chase, now 3, bears no scars from the incident. The Fernwood, Idaho, mom warns, "Even if your home is childproofed, remember that motels definitely are not. Be sure to check new surroundings for hazards."

"My daughter burned herself on our car's hubcap."

Tracy Ehrlich had just taken her 18-month-old daughter, Jenna, out of her car seat and had stood her on the driveway while Ehrlich grabbed her bag. When she turned around, she saw Jenna standing by the front tire of the car, looking at her hand and crying. Ehrlich realized how much heat was coming from the holes on the hubcap and figured out that Jenna had reached inside the holes and burned herself. Ehrlich took Jenna to the doctor; she had second-degree burns on her fingers. Luckily, she healed fully after three weeks, but now the Wantagh, New York, mom makes sure she keeps her daughter away from the car until it has completely cooled down.

"My daughter was burned by our treadmill."

Kara Lara was using her treadmill as her daughter, Ledgen, 2, played behind it. Ledgen touched the machine and her hand was sucked into the belt loop. Lara pulled the emergency stop, but Ledgen's hand was already bleeding. The East Wenatchee, Washington, mom took her daughter to the E.R., where she found out Ledgen had second- and third-degree burns on the skin as well as in underlying tissue. She spent a week in a burn unit, which included physical therapy and painful cleaning of the wound. Five months later Ledgen has full use of her hand, but her mom got rid of the treadmill to prevent future accidents.

"My son was burned by the oven storage drawer."

Heather Campbell was cooking dinner one evening when her 1-year-old son, Nathan, crawled into the kitchen and tried to open the storage drawer beneath the oven. Campbell put up her foot to stop him, but Nathan had already burned his finger. She took him to the doctor's office, where Nathan was bandaged up and prescribed oral antibiotics, but the burn left a scar. When Campbell later took a thermometer reading of the oven drawer, it read 211 degrees. "I'm now extremely cautious when the oven is on, and Nathan isn't allowed near the drawer, even when the oven is turned off," says the mom from Hatfield, Pennsylvania.

    Strangulation and Choking

    "My son choked on a bandage."

    A few hours after Kristi King brought her son, Layne, home from his 6-month checkup, he suddenly began flailing his arms and gagging. King and her husband quickly grabbed him and looked in the back of his throat, where they found the small circular bandage that the nurse had put on his vaccination injection site. Layne had scratched it off his thigh and stuck it in his mouth! Luckily, his mom and dad were able to remove the bandage from his throat. After his next round of shots, the Haysville, Kansas, parents plan to remove Layne's bandages as soon as any bleeding stops.

    "My son swallowed a doorstop."

    Jessica Christie thought she had done everything to babyproof the house for her 7-month-old son, Mikey. But one day after cleaning up some toys she turned around to find Mikey red-faced and choking. Christie started giving him the Heimlich maneuver and he spit something out; it was the white rubber tip of a doorstop, something that had never crossed her mind as being a hazard. Luckily, Mikey was okay, but the Zanesville, Ohio, mom quickly removed every other doorstop in the house.

    "My daughter was almost strangled by her mobile."

    Not long after Jessica Trapanese put her 7-month-old daughter, Ella, down for a nap, she heard cries. She went into Ella's room and found that the mobile had fallen on her daughter's face and that the mobile's strings were wrapped around Ella's neck. Luckily, Trapanese was able to quickly unwrap the strings and Ella was fine. The Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, mom says she believes her daughter kicked the mobile down, so she removed it from Ella's bedroom right after the incident.

    "My son was almost strangled by my purse handles."

    Brandy Weirich was in the bathroom while her 17-month-old son, Caden, played in the next room. When she heard him make a strange noise, she found he'd gotten his head stuck in the handles of her purse, which was on the closet doorknob. Caden was hanging from the handles, his feet off the ground. She quickly removed the strap from around his neck. He was fine, except for a red mark under his chin. The Marengo, Illinois, mom now stows her purse in a closet.


      "My son crawled under the baby gate."

      Farrah Ritter had installed baby gates at the top and bottom of her staircase. One day when she turned her back, her 1-year-old son, Lincoln, managed to shimmy under the gap in the gate at the top of the stairs. He tumbled down eight steps before Ritter caught him. Luckily, Lincoln was okay, but Ritter quickly remounted the gate lower to eliminate the gap. "We went to great lengths to babyproof our home, but I never thought my child would be able to go under the baby gate. It shows that you always have to be thinking three steps ahead of your kids," says the Simpsonville, South Carolina, mom.

      "My son fell out of a grocery cart."

      Elizabeth Lozano was shopping with her 4-month-old son, Joe, and had placed his infant carrier seat on top of the grocery cart's front basket. They went over a bump, causing the infant seat to bounce off the cart. Lozano managed to keep the seat upright as it was falling, but the force of the fall was enough that Joe's pacifier flew out of his mouth and landed 4 feet away. As a precaution, Lozano took Joe to the E.R., where doctors kept him under observation for three hours. Luckily, he was okay. "I now put the infant carrier down inside the large basket. This doesn't leave much room for groceries, but at least my child is safe," says Lozano, of Kyle, Texas.

      "My son fell off a changing table."

      Erin Antonyzyn was changing her 8-month-old son Asher's diaper. He wiggled around a lot on the changing table, so she always made sure she kept at least one hand on him. But one day, as she tossed a dirty diaper into a pail next to the table, he rolled off. Antonyzyn's hand was loosely on Asher; she was able to catch him, but he'd already bumped headfirst into a block on the ground. He cut his eyebrow; the wound was closed with surgical glue at the E.R. "Now I wait until he's completely changed, and then we put the diaper in the pail together," says the Chicago mom.

      "My son hurt his ear with a cotton swab."
      Shannon Rader, of Normal, Illinois, was using cotton swabs to clean the ears of her 3-year-old son, Abram, and his sister, Whitney. While Rader was with Whitney, Abram put a swab in each of his ears, climbed onto his toddler bed, and jumped up, landing on his side. He screamed, and Rader saw that he'd jammed one of the swabs into his ear. Their doctor sent them to the E.R., where they learned that the swab—which many docs actually don't recommend for cleaning inside the ear -- luckily hadn't punctured the eardrum, but it had cut the inside of his ear canal. After a week of antibiotic eardrops, he healed. Rader now makes sure she leaves the swabs where her kids can't reach them.

        Cuts and Scrapes

        "My daughter's finger got stuck in a bathroom door."

        Aimee Sturtevant was eating out with her 5-year-old daughter, Katelynn. The little girl took herself to the bathroom, and as she was leaving, her middle finger got stuck in the hinges of the bathroom door. Instead of yelling for help, she pulled her finger out, severing it. Katelynn was rushed to the E.R. The bone was healthy enough for the finger to grow back, but to this day, Katelynn has no feeling in her finger because the injury damaged her nerves. "Now I go to the bathroom with my daughter in any public place," says the Clarksville, Tennessee, mom.

        "My daughter sliced her foot open on a plastic hanger."

        Kelli Simpson's 7-year-old daughter, Baylee, was walking in their hallway when she stepped on a plastic hanger left on the floor. Baylee had a huge gash in her right foot and at the emergency room, they learned that she had cut three tendons and a muscle. She ended up having surgery, had to use a walker for six weeks, and has lost some movement in her toes. Now the Beatrice, Nebraska, family makes sure to not leave hangers on the floor.

        "My daughter put a razor in her mouth."

        Jamie DePoy had just finished shaving her legs in the shower when her 11-month-old daughter, Mariah, pulled herself up on the bathtub. She grabbed the razor DePoy had left on the side of the tub and put it in her mouth. Mariah got some minor cuts on her tongue from licking the razor blade, but DePoy caught her before more damage was done. Now the mom from Asheville, North Carolina, makes sure to always put her razor high on a shelf in the shower instead of on the side of the tub.

          Bumps and Bruises

          "My son's hand was trapped in an elevator."

          Christine Villano, of Newburgh, New York, was waiting for a hotel elevator with her two sons while on vacation. When the elevator arrived, her 3-year-old, Aaron, touched the doors as they were opening. Somehow, his hand and part of his arm got pulled along with the door and wedged between the door and the wall. Villano acted quickly to keep the doors from closing while she yanked his arm out, and since the ice machine was nearby, she was able to ice it right away to reduce the swelling. Luckily, Aaron walked away with minimal bruising, but now Villano always makes her kids stand back while waiting for the elevator.

          "My son got hit by a ladder."

          Christine Skluzacek was playing outside with her 20-month-old, Evan, when he snuck into the garage and started climbing a metal ladder that was leaning against a wall. Before Skluzacek reached Evan, he pulled the ladder on top of himself. He fell on the concrete floor, and the ladder landed on his face. His nose started bleeding, bumps formed on his head, and his eye swelled shut. Skluzacek took him to the E.R., where a CT scan showed that there was no serious damage to his skull or brain. "Our ladders are now secured high up on the walls," says the mom from Montgomery, Minnesota.

          "A picture frame fell on my son."

          Jacquie Tumminia was shopping with her 3-year-old son, Hayden. While they were walking through the frame aisle of the store, Hayden stepped onto a bottom shelf. It was empty, but his weight caused a plastic poster frame from the top shelf to topple down. The frame hit Hayden in the back of his head, behind his left ear. Tumminia took her son to the E.R., where he got six stitches. Nine months later, he still has a V-shaped scar. "Now I make sure my kids never step onto or play on shelves at any store," says the mom from Westport, Connecticut.

            Hair-Related Injuries

            "My daughter's hair caught on fire."

            Jessie Hill's 4-year-old daughter, Sophie, was blowing out the candles on the cake at her birthday party. As she leaned in to get closer, her short hair caught on fire. Luckily, another child's mom was standing close by and was able to quickly swat out the flame before Sophie was burned, but now the Salina, Kansas, mom keeps candles off of her child's birthday cakes. If you want candles on your child's cake, tie her hair back or use a single big candle, and supervise your child as she blows it out.

            "My daughter's hair got caught in a hand mixer."

            For her daughter Julia's third birthday, Heather O'Neill made cupcakes, and she wanted to include Julia in the baking. As Julia helped hold the hand mixer, she leaned over the bowl. Some strands of hair made their way in, and O'Neill told her daughter to move her head back. Julia did, but more hair fell into the bowl—and got caught in the mixer. The beaters wound her hair so tight that it ripped a clump off her head, resulting in a bald spot the size of the palm of her mother's hand. "My heart still breaks when I look at her bald spot," says the mom from Plantsville, Connecticut. "If I keep Julia's hair long, I will need to pull it back in a bun whenever she's helping in the kitchen."

            "My daughter almost lost her toe."

            When Lacey Brown was removing 9-month-old Cadence's sleeper, she noticed that the middle toe of her daughter's left foot was red and swollen. A strand of hair was wound around the toe so tightly that Brown was unable to remove it. Brown rushed Cadence to the E.R.; by the time they arrived, the toe was purple and nearly three times its usual size. The doctor was able to free the hair without any permanent damage—but had Cadence been brought in later, she could have lost her toe, the doctor said. "Now we always turn the feet of sleepers inside out before laundering," says Brown, a mom in Ontario, Canada.

            Copyright © 2012 Meredith Corporation.