Almost Deadly Sippy Cup Incident Warns Against Projectiles In Car


sippy cupI know some people think some things are extreme when it comes to car seat safety, often a matter of the "It won't happen to me" mindset. When mentioning clearing the car of potential projectiles, often the reaction is, "Oh, PLEASE. Whatever," ignoring the fact that even slamming on your brakes without impact is enough to make things go flying.

For one mom, Christina Hish of Denver, the reality of dangers from a projectile came true, in a very scary and serious way. The end result is over 400 stitches and many surgeries for her son, all from a soft-spouted sippy cup.

(Warning, slightly graphic picture ahead.)

On October 15th, last year, Hish and her 2-1/2-year-old, JD, were going out in their family car. Only a block away from her house, as she turned left, someone who drove straight in a left-turn lane hit her going around 45 miles per hour.

Her airbags deployed, the car was smoking, and she heard her son screaming behind her. She got out and went to him, and saw blood everywhere. He had been essentially scalped by the soft spout sippy cup he had with him.

She screamed for help, and an amazing woman removed her shirt, stood in a bra, helping her apply pressure to her son's head and they sang while waiting for emergency response.

Healed some,
after the bandages were removed
A plastic surgeon was called in to handle JD's injuries -- his skull was fractured in three places, he required more than 200 internal and 200 external stitches, and the main muscle in his forehead was severed and not able to be repaired, meaning he will never have movement of his forehead muscles.

Being autistic and non-verbal, JD's recovery was especially difficult, especially when his eyes were completely swollen shut, but with a great support system of loving family, they helped him pull through, and now he's doing well, though he has been through a lot, will always have lasting scars and effects, and may face future surgeries as well.

JD's mom is now, understandably, a major car seat safety advocate, with focus on dangers of projectiles. Many people consider it excessive or extreme but the fact is even in situations where a person merely slams on the brakes, items go flying and everything that is loose is potentially a danger to the occupants of a vehicle (including unrestrained passengers and pets!).

The method for determining the force at which an item flies isn't tough, but to break it down for very quick calculations, just figure that the weight of an object, times the speed you're traveling equals the force at which that item would hit something if your car comes to a sudden, complete stop (like hitting something head on).

5 pound purse x 35 miles per hour = 175 pounds of force.

That's actually pretty significant if it's hitting you or your child.

It may seem silly to buckle in your purse or put your water bottle in the center console that closes, but it's worth it. Only allow soft items like blankets or stuffed animals in the car with your child, and if you need a drink, check out something like an entirely soft water bladder that can be secured to something, and would break and spill before it would go flying. I think any mom would really hate to have her cellphone damage her child, when she figured just months before, "Whatever, it's not worth the effort."

Do you take projectiles seriously? Do you secure them?


Images via ©; Christina Hish

car seat safety, safety, travel


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LoriA... LoriAnn87

Wow this is just scary and I have never thougth about sippy cup being so dangerous. The next time me and my husband our out with our son instead of taking a sippy cup with us I will give him a juice box instead and leave the cup in my purse.

bills... billsfan1104

I am glad that the kid is doing well, but is she sure it was just the sippy cup?? How did the sippy cup cause that much internal damage?? I dont know, is ther emore to the story?? Like was the kid strapped in correctly, or the force of the accident do more to the kid than the sippy cup?? I am far from an expert, but I think that there is more to the story.

LSurv... LSurvivor78

while I am aware of projectiles being dangerous, I also have a hard time understanding how a round object *the cup* could scalp someone. Not to say it wouldn't cause injury, but I can't imagine how it would scalp someone?? Not to say it couldn't happen, but like billsfan1104, it seems there may be more to the story than just what is shared. 

Adriel Dunysha Quick

Billsfan1104, its quite simple how it it happened. You see, even when a car seat is completely and securely strapped in, it moves around in the event of a crash. What likely happened here is when the crashed the seat, child and sippy (and likely the entire back seat) moved forward into the fromt of the car, slamming him into the back of the seat infront of him, and unfortunately his sippy just so happened to be right in front of his head chen this happened. And since on the forehead there really is no room for stretching and bending in the skull area, the skin split everywhere the sippy dragged against

bills... billsfan1104

Adriel, that makes sense. I was just picturing a sippy cup flying through the air and doing that. But I still think there could be more to the story. I can understand a gash, but that much damage?? I still dont know. But like I said, I am glad the baby is OK.

momto... momtothemax2910

It is extremely likely that the sippy cup was the projectile. Even something seemingly innocuous like a box of Kleenex can be highly dangerous or even deadly as a projectile in an accident.

kisse... kisses5050

ever stub your round toe aginst a soft carpet? Now do it at the force of car crash..  I know a kid who had something similler happen with a sand bucket in the 1970s stck in the back window...which made my mom make the "no toys in the back seat rule "

Littl... LittleManMama

I guess I have a hard time believing that a sippy cup could cut skin in that way too. That sounded like a pretty bad accident and one that exceeds the standards of car seat safety testing as well. My guess is that there is more to this story as well.

Rachel Israel

amazing how a simple story, w/ explanations, still causes some to disbelieve the cause of this little boy's injuries. We hold on to our beliefs so strongly, don't we?

Guggie Daly

Projectile awareness was basically the last thing I learned about in carseat safety (although I am always learning new little details.) I have photos in my carseat album showing my daughter correctly harnessed, but then she is holding a sippy cup or playing a Leapster handheld game! :O

But I committed myself to having a clear car and so far, so good. I keep an umbrella stroller under the third seat, a coupon binder looped under a captain chair and then I buckle my purse/diaper bag/laptop onto the passenger seat stalk and keep them under the cup holder tray. I also keep my cellphone in the console drawer.

The last thing to go for me is the sippy cup...I thought that the soft, flexible cups were safe enough and specifically chose them with carseat safety in mind. But I was calculating the physics of an impact and realized that although it would unlikely cause severe damage such as what this poor boy experienced, the cups I chose could still harm and certainly hurt my babies.

Bottom line: if you would pick up that sippy cup and throw it at your child's face as hard as you can...then don't put it in the car.  

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