After falling off his bike and skinning his knee on vacation, the child was infected with a rare bacteria. Here's what parents need to know.

By Maressa Brown
December 08, 2020
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Whether a kid plays sports or is just having fun with friends in the neighborhood, they'll inevitably fall and skin their knee from time to time. And sadly, on a rare occasion, the consequences could go beyond a stinging swipe of alcohol. For a 3-year-old boy named Beauden Baumkirchner, a tumble off of his bike led to a devastating infection and losing his legs.

Close-up of Toddler's Skinned Knees
Credit: Getty Images

According to USA Today, Beauden and his family, who are from Arizona, were visiting San Diego when the incident occurred. The child fell off of his bike and skinned his knee, which became infected with a rare staph bacteria. Despite showing up in lab tests as a "garden-variety staph," or MSSA, a common, easy-to-treat bacteria found on human skin. Yet, this particular strain Beauden picked up produced a toxin that ultimately led to toxic shock syndrome, according to the outlet.

The boy's parents noticed that the day after his fall, he had a fever, was lethargic, and was holding his foot. The next day, he was having trouble breathing and his fever hadn't abated. His knee and lip were swollen as well.

They took him to the hospital for an X-ray and later an MRI. His feet were freezing cold and his hands were infected as well, reports USA Today. The boy, who was also suffering from sepsis and failing kidneys, was then admitted to the ICU where he spent two months, according to the Baumkirchners.

The 3-year-old underwent several leg surgeries, and early last month, doctors amputated his legs below the knee, according to ABC10 in San Diego.

The boy's doctors at Rady Children's Hospital also noted that serious staph infections like the one Beauden suffered from are rare, as they only a see a few cases every year.

Dr. Amna Husain, M.D., F.A.A.P., a board-certified pediatrician and founder of Pure Pediatrics in Marlboro, New Jersey who was not involved in Beauden's care, concurs, telling Parents.com, "Toxic shock syndrome can develop very rapidly. It is rare, but clinicians are aware of signs and symptoms to be on the lookout for."

Like Beauden experienced, toxic shock can lead to low blood pressure, elevated heart rate, and a fever. "This is all part of the inflammatory response to the bacteria," explains Dr. Husain.

She recommends that concerned parents keep an eye out for red flags such as:

  • Inflammation
  • Swelling
  • Increased redness at the site of the fall
  • Persistent fevers
  • Poor energy levels

Dr. Husain urges parents to seek medical care quickly, because although incidents like this are rare, early actions could save a child's life.

The Baumkirchners told ABC10 that they're simply grateful their son is alive, and they're optimistic that his arms and hands can be saved as well. They're asking that anyone who wishes to support Beauden donate to a GoFundMe for some of his medical expenses.