Boy Bitten by Rabid Bat at School Puts Our Worrying in Perspective

batAs parents, there are a lot of dreadful calls we imagine getting from our children's school, but one informing us that our child has been bitten by a bat isn't on the regular list of worries. Sandra Coleman of San Antonio, however, got that call last week. 

At Brooks Academy, her 5-year-old son, John, was playing in the gym. He and another child saw a bat lying on the floor. They went over to investigate, and somehow the bat bit him and perhaps the other child. The next day Coleman got a call that delivered even worse news: The bat tested positive for rabies.

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Little John got three shots immediately, and still has a couple more to go. Awful and frightening all around. I'm terrified of bats and once called an exterminator in a panic to come get rid of one in my skylight ... only to find out it was a butterfly. I felt stupid, but bats are scary, because sometimes their bites are so tiny, you don't know a child has been bitten. So this story really freaks me out.

But freak accidents happen -- whether at home or school -- and you can put in all the safety measures you want and try to prepare your child for what to do in a number of situations as best you can, but things still happen. I've never thought to tell my children not to pet a bat if they happen to see one lying on the floor somewhere, have you? I will now, of course, but for the most part, this is one of those stories I share because it shows that for all the worrying we do about our children's safety, it's usually for not. It's the things that we'd never think to worry about that most often end up happening. Which, in theory at least, means we should all stop worrying so much and take the calls as they come. Putting that into practice, however, is one of the bigger parenting challenges.

Perhaps the most disturbing part of this story, though, is the way Coleman says the school is handling the incident. She says the school isn't informing other families that a bat was present in the school, and that more children could have come into contact with it. The school hasn't commented, but if that's the case, then they certainly need to do so immediately, because the thought of a child potentially being exposed to rabies and the school not informing parents is definitely cause for worry.

What do you worry about most when it comes to your children's safety?


Image via longhorndave/Flickr

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