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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

90 Seconds to Ruin Your Day

I don't usually leave my flat iron plugged in. I don't usually leave my bedroom door open when Aiden is awake. And I don't usually have so much laundry to pre-treat. But all of those things happened yesterday and conspired to result in an accident.

Yesterday morning around 9:45 I gathered up all the laundry, bringing the clothes from our room out last. I passed Aiden playing in the living room and dumped the pile on the floor of the laundry room. About 90 second later I was scrubbing stains in the laundry room, with the washer filling (loudly) when I heard Aiden scream bloody murder. I know this scream, it means he's injuired, and this was the worst one I've heard yet. I dashed from the landry room, through the living room and down the hall. He had fallen quiet, in those long seconds before his lungs can fill with air and he can scream again, while I frantically called his name, unsure of where he was. Another gut-wrenching wail came from our master bathroom. I rushed in to find him red-faced, clutching my hair straightening iron to his body and - OH MY GOSH - he had turned it on. Acting on adrenaline, I grabbed the iron by the hot plate and jerked it from him, unplugging it and tossing it back onto the counter in one smooth motion. It was hot, but not all the way heated up and not hot enough to burn me. But only me.

I scooped up Aiden and let my legs instinctively carry him to the hall bath where I ran cool water and put him in. He was red all over from screaming and I couldn't tell what had been burned. I had seen one hand touching the hot plate and I somehow knew he'd burned his lips trying to put it in his mouth. I held both his hands under cool running water and used my hands to wipe cool water on his face. Thank goodness I keep an "emergency" hooded towel hanging behind the bathroom doors, so I don't have to leave him in the tub to go get one, because by the time I had cooled his skin enough to calm him, he was shivering. I wrapped him up and rushed for some Tylenol and my phone to call the nurse's line at his pediatrician's office. The nurse was great and told me to put a few ice cubes in a tupperware bowl and fill it with water for him to play in to cool the burns on his hands. I threw in some take-n-toss spoons for him to fish out. I grabbed my soft silicone basting brush and basted his hands and lips with the cool water. So here we were, both of us sitting on the floor in the kitchen, Aiden naked and wrapped in a towel, playing in a bowl of ice water. He was actually laughing and I thought for a second I had dodged a bullet. But only for a second. His cherry red lips were starting to swell. I called the pediatrician's office back and scheduled an appointment. They could squeeze me in around 1:30. I managed to keep Aiden comfortable, even getting him to nap for an hour before his appointment. When I heard him stirring, I went in to get him and immediately felt ill. His lips had a small, thin, light-colored blister over them and his right hand was blistering in several places. I wanted to faint.

We didn't wait long to see Dr. Smoot and Aiden was actually quite pleasant in the waiting room, despite the fact he hadn't eaten (he was refusing food) and hadn't gotten but half his usual nap. One mother, who was there with her daughter, commented playfully on what a busy boy he was. (We get this comment a LOT! LOL!) I agreed and told her we were actually in for burns he'd gotten from being too curious. I caught a couple compassionate, understanding looks from the moms with boys, which made me feel like maybe Aiden wasn't the only child to ever be burned by a hot iron. Dr. Smoot confirmed it was a very common household accident. However MOUTH burns were quite unusual. We figured he must have been mouthing the plates when he nudged the on button, which is far too sensitive, and began the 30 second heat-up. It probably burned his mouth first and then his hands as he screamed for me to help. (You should know that babies won't drop things that are burning them. You have to pull it away from them. And no matter how badly you bruised yourself flying through the house, slipping on the tile in your socks and slamming into door frames, you don't feel like you moved fast enough.)

Dr. Smoot located burns on his gums, tongue, lips, hands, fingers, knuckles and wrist. His right hand was by far the worst, with the worst burns being on the back of his hand, below his pinkie and the pad of his thumb. Both had large white blisters. The rest of the burns were smaller, thinner, and were red and slightly raised but didn't blister as badly. She promised the mouth burns would heal quickly, in 24-48 hours and she was right. His lips look better this morning and the burn on his gum is vanishing rapidly. His hand will take much longer to heal. We'll need to protect the skin with Neosporin-and-guaze wraps for two weeks to ensure he doesn't get a secondary infection since the skin is injured and vulnerable. We have already found wrapping his hand and then putting a sock over it has really helped keep food bits and outside grunge from walks off his bandages and skin. He's on Children's Motrin and perscription Tylenol with Codine to manage the pain. It is working, he doesn't seem to get uncomfortable until his next dosage time. I am eternally grateful to Dr. Smoot for writing him the tylenol perscription. And for being so sweet in general when I was in the examination room crying about how awful I felt while Aiden giggled at her and played coy from behind his sippy cup.

So that's how an accident happened in 90 seconds and ate up my entire day yesterday. I probably deserve the extra work per day of medicine dosing, bandage unwrapping, hand cleaning, cool water soaks and bandage re-wrapping morning and evening. You can bet I have made sure my hair tools are put away and that ALL doors are staying CLOSED! I even put a latch on the fridge yesterday because I saw Aiden open it and pull out a glass bottle of tabasco sauce before I could cross the kitchen to stop him. Tabasco sauce on mouth burns is NOT what we need! This baby of mine is something else. He keeps me so busy and when he's not injuring himself, his antics crack me up. I absolutely, positively MUST MUST MUST have another boy!


larshannon said...

Ian and Aiden are really going to get into trouble together. I'm going to call you...

Susie said...

wow...what a story. so sorry for little aiden. glad he's on the mend. a good reminder about the ol' flat iron.

Alisha said...

So sorry to hear about that. Glad to hear Aiden is being good about getting it taken care of though.

1/2 dozen of another said...

You don't know me, but your blog popped up when I was researching mouth burns from Children's Motrin. You should google it and read the scary things that have happened to 32 children (blindness and severely burned mouths). I have 6 kids of my own (5 boys) and it really shocked me. Just thought I'd pass this along from one mom to another--beautiful blog by the way! -Lara