Taking care of children is a 24/7, 365 day a year job. During that time, it's easy for things to go horribly, horribly wrong. These parents share a time when they almost accidentally, prematurely ended the life of their child.
1/20. I'm not a parent, but once, driving a 5 year old around, in the middle of the road he unbuckled his seat belt and climbed out of the window, I noticed when his body was dangling halfway out of the car, was barely able to grab him by the leg and pull him back in.
My heart had stopped, you avert your eyes for a split second and these kids find a way to lemming themselves.
2/20. My kiddo was / is a tummy sleeper through and through. I kept telling the doctor she wouldn't sleep on her back, but he just kept telling us that she will die if she sleeps on her belly. So I had a sleep deprived, miserable crying child and I was sleep deprived and miserable from holding her while she took 3 naps a day. We couldn't co-sleep so something had to give. If we put her on her belly she slept like a champ, so that's what we did at night. Everything was great, though I felt guilty.
Until one morning I go to wake her up and she doesn't move when I call her name. She doesn't move when I lay a hand on her back. She is stiff when I yank her out of bed and proceed to run screaming bloody murder throughout the house "She's dead, she's dead OMG she's dead" I don't know whether to jump in the car and go to the hospital 2 seconds away or call 911 - so I'm frantically dancing back and forth in the front yard. My panicked husband finally yells "STOP FOR A SECOND", walks over and kisses our super quiet, very confused and very alive child. I told you - she slept like a champ on her belly.
3/20. When my brother was about 3, my dad was playing that game where you lift your kid above your head repeatedly over and over again. He didn't realize that there was a ceiling fan directly above him, and put my brother's head into a very fast moving ceiling fan.
This resulted in a bunch of stitches and a very, very guilty father.
4/20. My son is only eight months old, and I've already got one.
First, you should know that our house is about 100 years old and still has a boiler and radiators(steam) to provide heat. Since the house has settled, not all of the radiator pipes are angled as they should be; this can cause cold air to get trapped in the pipe, preventing certain radiators from heating up. The way to fix this is to remove the pressure regulator from the end of the radiator until steam comes out, this can take up to 10 minutes, depending on how long the boiler has been running, and the distance between said radiator and boiler.
One day, the radiator in my son's room wasn't warming. It was night-time and cold as hell outside, so I snuck into his room and unscrewed the regulator. Not wanting to wake him, I snuck back out, planning to return momentarily and put the regulator back on.
Well, I forgot.
(story continued on the next page...)
More shockingly close-call stories on the next page!
For about half an hour. All of a sudden, as I'm doing who-knows-what downstairs, I'm wondering what the high-pitched whistling noise coming from upstairs is. I quickly realize my mistake, and dash to his room, only to find a cloud of steam so dense that I can't see anything. I feel my way to his crib and give him the scare of his very short life as I jerk him up out of a dead sleep and run out of the room.
He was no worse for wear, just generally damp from the ridiculous amount of water in the air. After tending to him, I had to manually shut off the boiler and wait for the radiator to cool down before I could put the regulator back on, then towel-dry everything in his room, even the walls and ceiling.
Almost steamed my four month old like a lobster.
5/20. I was giving my newborn son his first bath and I had him facedown over my arm lowered into the water while I washed his back, not realizing I had completely submerged his face. He was probably under for about 10-15 seconds before I realized he was a bit quiet and the reason why. Still feel sick when I think that he could have drowned in my arms.
6/20. We were renting a two story house when my son was about 2 years old. All of the bedrooms were upstairs and the windows which, lead out to an overhang were the floor to sealing type and opened on the bottom. I thought I was being safe by putting child proof locks in the kids room windows. One day I'm downstairs while my son is napping and a neighbor comes over screaming "There's a baby on your roof." He had gone into my bedroom and climbed out a window that wasn't locked.
7/20. Once while watching a three year old (my godson) we went to a local model train store that he loved. Everything went great, and he had a lot of fun. Walking back to the car, he was tugging at my hand, and said "I want to run!" We'd made it past the last car in the lot except ours, no visible moving cars anywhere ahead of us, and it looked like absolute clear, safe sailing all the way back to our parked car. So, I let go, and said, "Go ahead! Run!"
It all seems so predictable now. He ran about 5 feet forward into the completely empty parking lot, towards our car, then did a 180 degree turn with a speed and agility that would make a hummingbird proud, and took off back the way we came, back into the busy part of the parking lot.
(story continues on the next page...)
More definitely guilty parents on the next page!
Trust me when I tell you that it is simply not possible for a 185 pound adult to change direction that quickly. Fortunately I still had the presence of mind to yell "Stop!" at the top of my lungs. He stopped himself just short of a big SUV with its backup lights on. I think the driver may have seen him. I don't know.
Anyway, here's what I learned about small kids.
Just because traveling in a certain direction is obvious and natural to you does not mean your toddler thinks the same thing. All directions of travel are "on the table."
Toddlers can maneuver much more quickly than you can.
You need to be holding your toddlers hand firmly any place there are cars. Even cars that could never, ever be a source of danger. Because they still can be.
8/20. Caught my 14month old eating a glass christmas bulb.
I went over and slapped it out of her hand. Then I fish-hooked around in her mouth. I could feel the glass, but it was too fine to remove.
I yelled for my husband to hold down our daughter while I waterboarded her at the kitchen sink. He shot me a curious look, but he isn't really one to pass up a good time. Thankfully, it worked.
9/20. My mum got into the shower with her newborn baby girl (my now 4 year old sister) who was about 6 months old at the time, tripped on the step into the bathroom and proceeded to throw the baby into the tiled shower like a rag-doll. She is fine now though, I think...
10/20. 1995, my wife is 7 months pregnant with our first, punches me awake at 3am crying because, well, hormones. She's hysterical because we can't be trusted with a baby, we'll hurt it. When I tell her we'll be fine she says "You're a fucking klutz, you'll drop the baby down the stairs."
2003, carrying our eight month old third child down the stairs, one of the other kids had left one of those fat crayons on like the second step down. Step on crayon, foot goes shooting straight forward, I land hard on my ass.
(story continued on the next page...)
More crazy stories on the next page!
Baby gets dropped and lands two steps down from me.
I had landed oddly, with my left leg sort of tucked backwards (ended up with a sprained knee from it).
I try to free my leg so that I can reach forward and grab my daughter.
Leg pops forward...
And I managed to kick my daughter down another five steps.
For the record, she was scared as hell but completely unharmed. She stopped crying within 10 minutes and went on as if nothing had happened.
11/20. I was driving to work one winter morning in South Dakota. It was very cold out.
My mind was elsewhere, and when I was turning into the parking lot, I heard my four-month old daughter cough in the backseat. I had forgotten she was in the car, and had forgotten to drop her off at daycare.
I was this close to parking the car and going into the office and leaving her there, in a South Dakota winter. She wouldn't have made it to lunch.
Still gives me the creeps, 12 years later.
12/20. No kids, but as a babysitter - During the summer, the parents would drop me off with the kids at a swim club they were members at. Oldest kid was maybe 7, youngest was 3. Since the youngest couldn't swim yet, she had those inflatable arm floaty things to wear. Well, at the end of the day, I was packing everything up to get ready to leave, took her arm floaties off... turned to put them in the bag, turn back around, she's gone (no more than 15 seconds with my back turned).
Apparently she decided to jump back in the pool for one last swim. There is nothing quite as heart-attack inducing as when I looked in the shallow end of the pool, and there she was just standing on the bottom with this shocked look on her face since she had expected to float. I jumped right in and pulled her out. Again, she was only out of sight for maybe 15 seconds, so no harm done. But still, scary as hell.
13/20. Grandma was visiting and doing some knitting. No sooner had the request "please make sure your (3 year old) grandson can't get a hold of one of those" come out of my mouth when I see him racing around the sofa brandishing a knitting needle.
Time goes into slow motion. I can't see him and my legs, strangely, won't move fast enough. There is an odd silence. Then the crying. But it is a cry I've not heard before. It's gargled somehow. Rounding the sofa, it's a scene for which I have no context. My son is sprawled on the ground. My brain first registers the blood.
(story continued on the next page...)
More "close-call" stories on the next page!
And then the bloody knitting needle. I turn him over and blood begins spurting from his neck and hits the coffee table.
Grab pj top and apply pressure. Scream at Grandma to call 911. Grandma forgets how to use "this crazy telephone". Husband runs in from garden. A blur of ambulance, attendants, neck brace, gurney, sirens, emergency room. There are ultrasounds, physical checks, stitches, monitors and finally an overnight stay in hospital for observation. All is well.
Arriving home, Grandma said she thought we "overreacted". Much later she will be heard to wonder aloud why she is not allowed to babysit.
14/20. When my son was 4 months old, his dad was carrying him downstairs. His dad sneezed, lost his footing and slid halfway down the stairs on his butt. In the meantime, my son, swaddled tightly in a blanket sound asleep, shot out of his arms like a football and landed head first on the wood landing of the stairs.
He ended up in PICU with a hematoma and two fractures on his skull. After a couple weeks of monitoring and healing, he was fine and is fine to this day. Although I worry about early head trauma affecting him later in life. But so far so good!
His dad on the other hand still tears up when he thinks or talks about it.
15/20. I had this fake fireplace the first place that we lived, and I didn't know I had to bolt it to the wall, I figured it was heavy enough it would be fine. My 2yr old son threw a ball and it went on top of the fire place, as he climbed up to get it the whole thing fell over. The only thing that saved his life, was the bean bag chair we had set in front for story time. The fire place weighted 200 lbs or more. When it tilted he managed to get into the nook part so he wasn't getting completely crushed and the chair kept the weight off of him. I had to get neighbors to help me lift it up. Scariest moment so far.
16/20. The closest my son has ever come to danger was with my mom (I was there - this was Mom's fault). We were loading purchases into the back of the car outside a department store. He was a little over a year old and was strapped into the seat of the shopping cart. I went around to turn on the car and get the AC going. My mom let go of the shopping cart to put her purse in and close the trunk.
I stand up to see my son in the shopping cart rolling at a pretty good clip down the hill, through the parking lot towards the 4 lane highway. He saw me looking, lifted a hand and did that cute bending your fingers wave kids do. You have never seen two women take off running so fast. He is a teenager now and any time my mom criticizes me, I remind her of the time she sent him careening towards traffic.
More shocking stories on the next page!
17/20. Two weeks ago I fell asleep behind the wheel. I was driving 160 km/h with my 2 year old son sleeping in the backseat.
I was tired but I thought I could just keep driving. Wrong. I nodded off for just one second but the car started going to the right, onto the emergency lane. Scared the shit out of me.
I stopped at the first gas station and closed my eyes for half an hour. I got home safely after that. I promised myself and my son that I will never keep driving when tired. It's better to take a break and continue later.
18/20. When I was only 6 months old, my mom was running errands and had me in the car seat in back of the Jeep Wrangler we had. She buckled me into my car seat, but she was absent minded/distracted and forgot to strap the car seat to the backseat.
She's driving along and takes a turn to fast and I shift from right side up on the passenger side to upside down in between the back of the driver's seat and the back seat driver's side. She notices right away, pulls over to get me right side up again, and she notices that my soft spot was about an inch from a protruding bolt. I don't think she forgot to secure the car seat after that...
19/20. I'm not a parent but I'm ten years older than my sister and she got really good at climbing chairs at around 2 years old and managed to fall headfirst off of the chair. Fortunately I saw it happen and managed to react out of instinct and dove across the kitchen, not fully catching her but slowed her down and she landed on my hands, which is better than tile.
I also managed to throw my soda across the kitchen counter, I don't think I've ever reacted so fast in my life.
20/20. Almost not having sex.