pencilsA few months ago Wren Bowell, 2, was determined to show her parents a picture she had drawn. So the toddler picked it up and went to find them. Only on the way, she tripped over a baby gate and fell head first onto a pencil.

According to Medical Daily, the pencil went right through her eye socket and embedded itself 1 1/2 inches into her brain. Doctors say it was just 1 millimeter away from a major blood vessel that, if it had hit, surely would have killed her. Amazingly, the story has a happy outcome.

After hours of complicated surgery, and weeks in the hospital, not only did Bowell escape blindness, she also managed to come out of it without any permanent damage. Doctors say she was extremely fortunate and that her mother not trying to remove the pencil may have been key. Thank goodness she's okay, but this is one of those stories that chills me to the bone. It's a reminder that life can change in a split second because of one silly little accident, an accident that perhaps could have been prevented.

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As a parent, I bounce around a lot in my desire to be more laid back and to stress less, and my innate tendency to want to wrap my kids in bubble wrap because there are so many scary things out there that can happen. Stories like this make it really hard to do the former. Sure, it's a freak accident, but freak accidents do happen. Ian Pople, a neurosurgeon who operated on the girl, said he's seen three other similar incidents in his 16 years -- one which was fatal and one which caused permanent brain damage.

So while I know my children get tired of me constantly telling them to not do this and be careful doing that and you're going to poke someone's eye out with that thing, I have a hard time curbing myself. I'm sure my neighbor thought I was a lunatic last night with all of my warnings about Fourth of July fireworks and the caution I kept shouting at my son while he waved around the damn sparklers (who EVER thought giving kids fire on a metal stick was a good idea?!).

Still, I know I can't prevent every accident, and I don't want my children to feel like they have to live in fear. (I'll do that for them.) But after reading about Wren, I can tell you my policy on not walking with pens and pencils will be more strictly enforced than ever. In fact, maybe we'll just use markers and crayons for the next 15 years.

Of course, the irony here is that she tripped over a baby gate -- something that was supposed to keep her safe. Sigh.

Do you feel like you're constantly telling your kids to be careful about this or that?


Image via Srthnow/Flickr