14 Real-Life Parenting Nightmares That Ended in a Trip to the ER


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They say you always hurt the ones you love, and that's definitely true for parents. No matter how careful we might be, at some point or another we're going to do something (or forget to do something) that puts our kids in danger -- whether it's turning our backs for a split second with a baby on the changing table or leaving a pair of scissors in reach of curious toddler hands. Accidents happen to the best of us, unfortunately, and all we can do is pick ourselves up, dust ourselves (and our kids) off, and take comfort in the nightmare stories of other imperfect parents like us.

Inspired by Reddit threads like "Well, turns out I broke my 1yo daughter's jaw," we collected the following parenting nightmare stories from both social media and "real-life" moms that were willing to share. You'll cringe, you'll gasp, you'll sigh in weary recognition!

The important thing to remember is that all these stories ended well. So, no matter what mistakes you make as a parent (and we all make them!), chances are, you're not alone and everything is going to be okay!

  • No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed

    1

    "My son broke his collar bone with me in the same room when he tumbled off the bed while rough-housing with his sister. Wife had just left for a girls weekend to the beach. I call her, tell her I have it covered and she still turned around and came home." 

    -- philo_the_middle/Reddit

  • Dodgeball Danger

    2

    "I was the direct cause of my 2-year-old's only trip to the ER (for a concussion) and I'm the mom. We had just moved in, and had no furniture. We were going to have a picnic in the living room and I gave her the blanket to lay down. She stepped on one of those foursquare/dodgeball balls and it shot out from underneath her and all the force set her back on the back of her head. She made the most painful noise and sobbed her brains out for a straight hour. It was horrible but I'm mostly OK now."

    -- Rua-Yuki/Reddit 

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  • Campfire Chaos

    3

    "This past summer my daughter, 2 years old, fell into a campfire. Her skin was singed. Some burns were on her belly, some on her hand, some on her arm and some were even on her face.

    I didn't think my heart could break so hard so fast. The millions of horrifying endings to this story passed through my mind in the few seconds following the accident.

    As the helicopter lifted off the ground to take us to the nearest burn unit I couldn't believe what was happening to me. Of course I never thought something like this could be my reality.

    The next few weeks were really hard and even though the experience was horrifying, things turned out OK. No skin grafts, no permanent wounds remained that wouldn't be covered by clothing. The burn on her face healed quickly leaving almost no trace.

    The whole experience gave me PTSD for a month and I still have a really hard time dealing with the reality of the whole nightmare even now."

    -- Summer Blackhurst, Go Au Pair 

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  • Perilous Push

    4

    "You know those plastic Little Tikes swings, with the swing-up bar and over-the-shoulder straps? I'm sure nobody thinks it's a good idea to let your kids swing unbuckled, but here's a story demonstrating the thrilling possibilities.

    We had another family over for dinner on Friday the 21st. The two moms left for a church ladies retreat, leaving two dads and four kids. My 1-year-old and the other 7-year-old girl are mutually enamored with each other. The 7-year-old helped my daughter into the swing and 'buckled' her in. Cute little pushes ensued, without incident.

    My daughter is a bit of a thrill seeker so asked to be pushed 'fast!' So, without checking her buckles, I pulled her up over my head, pushed her down, and out she came. The overall effect was much like I picked her up over my head and body-slammed her facedown on the concrete.

    At first I thought I had killed her ... then the screaming and bleeding started. Split chin, pools of blood in her mouth, at least two chipped teeth, and an obviously crooked bite were what I noticed immediately. Off to the urgent care! They stitched up her chin, checked her jaw (not broken, they said) and sent us home.

    We went to the doctor on Monday just so they could check the gashes in her mouth and make sure everything was healing OK. They recommended we see a pediatric dentist about the misalignment. They checked her jaw and joints and again, said it wasn't broken. The dentist agreed -- not broken, joints swell and make things go out of alignment. She said let's wait a week for things to heal up a little, then take some x-rays to be sure. The rest of last week was fine. Her stitches came out, bruising all went away, her bite was even looking a little bit less crooked.

    We went for the x-rays today. Broken jaw, right between her lower right canine and lateral incisor. Off to the oral surgeon we go, tomorrow afternoon."

    -- Melt_in_the_Sun/Reddit

  • Hands Down

    5

    "One time when I was about 3 I had stopped to play in some gravel behind my mom at a flower nursery. Without realizing I was on the ground, she stepped back on my hand and broke three bones in it. Accidents happen and I'm no worse for the wear."

    -- Bubblingbrooke/Reddit

  • Fall at the Fireworks

    6

    "My family used to throw HUGE parties, with people bringing the biggest fireworks, kids with sparklers and a BBQ. The whole neighbourhood plus family and friends were invited and they were amazing. It goes dark around 5 p.m. here in November, so the party went on all night.

    One year, I was chasing my cousins around the garden, but was well behind them, being the youngest. My mother saw my cousins run past, assumed all the children had run through, warned them about the safety rope (that we made people stand behind) and tied it up, not noticing me in the dark coming behind them. The rope was just high enough to catch 5-year-old me on the neck, throwing me backwards onto the edge of the concrete driveway and cracking my head open.

    People rushed, tea towels were applied to my head, covered in blood, then reapplied. My mother wanted to take me to hospital, my father called it a small scratch and said it'd heal on its own and when we finally got to the hospital the doctors at Accident and Emergency were presented with a 5-year-old with a rope mark around her neck and blood pouring out of her head. Questions were asked, my mother had only just found out she was pregnant with my brother so she was stressing and they threatened to call a social worker because every time they asked, 'How did this happen Abi?' I'd sob and point at my mum.

    Five surgical staples to the head later and I was on my way back home to enjoy the rest of the fireworks!"

    -- neenoonee/Reddit

  • (Not) Having a Ball

    7

    "When my daughter was 18 months I was laying on the ground, bouncing a tennis ball against the wall. She was in the room just playing/running around. Suddenly one of my throws comes back to me a little high. I reach up to catch it and catch her square in the face as I catch the ball. The arm action was the same as a punch and she went flying like she was straight out of a kung fu movie. I thought I killed her. Luckily all was okay but I felt so horrible. Bottom line is accidents happen. She won't remember it in 10 years and it will just be a weird story by then." 

    -- shambahlah/Reddit 

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  • Bathtime Boo Boo

    8

    "So two weeks ago, as I was getting stuff together for his bath, my 2-year-old fell on his face and lost his front tooth and split his lip. It was terrible, a nightmare actually, blood, tears, it was terrible.

    I took him to the dentist the next morning and he was pretty much like yeah your son lost his tooth, it happens and told me to keep it clean and watch the other teeth. His other front tooth looks like it may have been suffered some trauma during the fall, like it may have been pushed into the gum a bit. But I was told either that will pop out of the gum in a couple of weeks or fall out, it's all a wait and see approach.

    The problem is that I feel tremendously guilty about the whole thing, whenever he smiles, I think about how bad I messed up because if I had only gone faster getting his bath together than this wouldn't have happened. He doesn't even seem bothered about the whole thing, he eats fine, talks fine and I've tried using this as an opportunity to teach him about paying attention, walking in the house and being careful."

    -- gddess/Reddit

  • May Contain Peanuts

    9

    "My kid aspirated a peanut into his lung; many ER trips later they finally found it."

    -- Rebecca

  • Finger Squeeze

    10

    "My mom rented an apartment for us by the sea. I finished unpacking and putting things in a cupboard and then closed the cupboard door not realizing my 10-month-old baby’s finger was in the hinge area of the door. His fingernail came off. We rushed him to the ER. I felt terrible! We had a very nice doctor who told me he dropped a hot iron on his daughter’s face. He wanted me to know that even doctors make awful mistakes with their children that come with repercussions.

    My baby is now a man. His fingernail is oddly shaped to this day, but he is otherwise fine."

    -- Varda Meyers Epstein, mother of 12, www.kars4kids.org/blog

  • Shattered

    11

    "Long story short my now 3-year-old had a horrible accident when she was 15 months. She fell on glass and almost lost her eye. Since then I've been horribly depressed calling myself a horrible mother because what kind of mother has a wine glass around a toddler. And also feeling like everything was my fault. After suffering PPD with my latest kid I finally went to therapy. The therapist taught me a coping strategy for dealing with the guilt of the accident I thought might be useful for other parents. She taught me:

    'The accident is not my fault. There is no way I could ever have known my daughter would fly into a wine glass. Bad things happen but it's how we react that make the difference in good parenting vs. bad. I immediately called 911 and got my daughter to the best trauma center ultimately saving her eye and some of her vision. Even now, every day I have to patch her eye and put in a contact but I'm a good parent because I do those things to help her.'

    I know a feeling many of us have after a child has an accident is that it is completely our fault. We replay the accident over and over in our head wishing we could change just one thing. But know that bad things happen but the fact that we care and love our children and get them the best care possible means we are good parents. Our kids will remember this."

    -- Happybunny62/Reddit

  • Burn Notice

    12

    "The day after my son's first birthday, he pressed an iron (that I had turned off seconds ago) to his face. He had horrible burns on one side of his face that blistered horribly.

    He's almost six now and his face has healed completely. I repressed this memory for a long time because I could not deal with the guilt. Now, I try to tell myself that he had just started walking, which I wasn't used to, and he was just being curious, like kids are. It happened in a split second and it was just an accident. You don't deserve to feel guilty for something you didn't do. Love your child, comfort your child, and remind yourself that accidents do happen."

    -- HatefulRussianBitch/Reddit

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  • Step by Stumble

    13

    "When my daughter was 18 months, I took her to visit my grandmother with my sister and her 3-year-old. We had all been sitting outside on the patio. When it was time to go in, my 18-month-old climbed up the brick steps behind my niece and sister to go inside. I saw her with my own eyes. I then turned to help my grandmother, and heard a terrible thump and scream behind me. My daughter had turned around and come back out of the house and fallen down the brick steps. She had a huge bruise on her forehead, an open gash on her nose, and scratches all over her face and arms.

    She healed completely, but bears a small scar on her nose. Still, I feel terrible about it. I had recurring dreams about it for months. I replayed it over and over and blamed myself. She's 4 now, but I swear I still feel terrible about it, and I'm still hard on myself because I should have been watching her better. I think we all have moments like these."

    -- EvenEvie/Reddit

  • Wild Ride

    14

    "Kids have accidents. My son at age 5 ran outside to get his truck while I was washing dishes. Instead of just getting the truck he sat on the big metal tonka truck and went down the driveway and went head first into a rock. He came in the house and told me he fell off truck and hurt his arm. He has no recollection of hitting his head but he had scalped a good two inch section of his scalp.

    He was fine after and ER visit and CT scan and 27 stitches ... but the image of him coming in the house with blood running down his face is an image that took a long time to leave my head. It is sometimes more painful and harder to forget a child's accident for us parents. Just remind yourself that accidents do and will happen! My son is 14 now and he just got stitches two days ago because he was trying to cut a hole in a bottle cap. So the accidents never end unfortunately!"

    -- Sage311/Reddit

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