The baby girl was just one month old when she was injured by a firework at a block party in Brooklyn.
As wonder-inducing as Fourth of July fireworks can be, they also lead to plenty of unnerving accidents. In fact, fireworks were involved in an estimated 11,100 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments in 2016, according to the Consumer Production Safety Commission (CPSC) report released last year. And a family in Brooklyn is now speaking out about what it's like when a child suffers one of those injuries firsthand.
NBC Washington reports that in September 2016, then-1-month-old Jala Smith joined her family at a block party in Brooklyn. Someone at the event "lit a rocket," explained Jala's mother, Quanisha Smith. "It went into the air but it didn't get all the way into the air. The wind must have shifted it because it went straight into the wall."
The firework bounced off the wall. "It hit [Jala's] stroller, and I saw a spark," said Smith. "The stroller is on fire with the baby in it, and it was just panic." Her initial concern wasn't unfounded: The little girl's legs were burnt "black to a crisp," Smith explained.
The family rushed Jala to Staten Island University Hospital Northwell Health, where NBC Washington reports that Dr. Michael L. Cooper and his team treated the baby girl in the burn unit.
It's been two years since that dreadful moment, and thankfully, Jala runs around like any toddler, according to the news outlet. Still, she has pain and a scar. Smith explains that the incident affected Jala's six siblings, as well.
"They're scared of fireworks now, so they don't even want to be around it," Smith shared. "They don't even want to hear it. When they hear it, they run and hide."
It's no wonder that after contending with this scary accident, Smith is imploring other parents to think about safety on the Fourth of July. "Please don't light it," she said. "Don't play with fireworks at all. Any bottle rockets, any fireworks. It is so dangerous to everyone."