Toddler Swallows Screwdriver But Let's Not Blame Parents

The first instinct we all have when we hear a horrible story about a child falling in a pool or eating poison or tumbling from a window is to blame the parents. It's only natural. We all want to believe it couldn't happen to us, so we deem the parents "bad parents" and move on. And yet, it's just not the truth.

A 2-year-old girl from Colorado just had to have surgery to remove a 3.5-inch screwdriver from her large intestine. The eyeglass screwdriver had become lodged there after she swallowed it.

They're very lucky she is alive. And before everyone starts berating the parents asking how she got a screwdriver, it's important to ask yourself why you want to jump to that.


Do you want to feel superior? Prove you're the better parents? Do you want to hide behind some mask of perfection because you're scared to admit this could happen to you? Why is it that so many of us feel the need to berate the parents when we hear about tragedies or near-misses?

The fact is toddlers are curious and some (like my daughter) are more likely than others to put things in their mouths. We all know our own children and most of us DO watch them like hawks and never let them out of our sight. But phones ring and siblings need snacks and dogs pee in the kitchen (or maybe that's just mine). Things happen that distract us momentarily, and in that moment, things happen.

When my children were tiny, my 2.5-year-old found a closed pocket knife her father had inadvertently left on the foyer table after removing it from his pocket. She picked up the heavy thing and proceeded to bash her 1-year-old brother in the head. I was right there in the room, but far enough away that I didn't see it happening. He was fine. The knife was closed. He didn't even have a mark. But we were very lucky.

It's way too easy to say the knife shouldn't have been there, but that is so obvious. Of course, it should have been put away, but when you're a parent, things happen. Maybe these parents were repairing some glasses when they were distracted and got up, leaving the work to do later, and their daughter wandered in and swallowed it. That could happen to anyone. It's hardly as if they let her sleep at night (unsupervised) on a bed of broken glass. They're parents and life happens.

Thank goodness their little girl is OK and we can all be thankful for that.

Do you blame the parents?


Image via James Bowe/Flickr

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