Kitchen Injury

edb2nApril 17, 2014

This is slightly off-topic, but I'll share anyway. We are in the middle of our DIY kitchen facelift, and had a scary incident Tuesday night. My wife was cooking dinner and my 2 year old son was "helping" as he loves to do. Anyway, she was using the food processor to chop something and turned around briefly to check on the oven. When she did that, he stuck his arm down the chute of the processor while it was running. The blade cut off two of his fingertips. He was screaming, blood was shooting everywhere, and my wife was panicked. (I wasn't home). We spent the evening in the ER. After a lot of scary waiting and early predictions from doctors, it ended up not being too bad. They first thought we would have to go to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital for surgery. But after getting X-rays and consulting with the hand specialist, we got some good news. One finger only took off soft tissue and should heal up just fine. The other one took a sliver of the bone as well, so that one is more concerning. But the doctor says children that age have a remarkable ability to regrow and regenerate tissue, and even small amounts of bone. He thinks it will heal with only a minor deformity on the fingertip. They will check it again in a week, and evaluate whether surgery is necessary at that point.

We had a really tough 24 hours, but things are really looking up now.

To make this more relevant to the forum: If anyone is wondering whether blood or chunks of finger will stain Kashmir White Granite, the answer is No. Wipes right up!

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cani123

Omg! Thank goodness things aren't as bad as it could have been. I feel for your wife, that had to be so scary.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 1:07PM
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CEFreeman

"Well," she said firmly, "I'm glad to hear the granite is ok."

OH. MY. God. what a heart attack for your wife!
I am so glad the little one is going to be fine. So many things can become dangerous when babies are in the home.

Wow.
I'm glad things are obviously well enough that you found the reason to laugh!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 1:39PM
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crl_

I am so glad he will be okay!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 1:42PM
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annkh_nd

Holy cow, what a nightmare! I'm glad it looks like he'll be OK.

A child in my sons' child care center got a finger cut off in the hinge side of a heavy fire door. It was reattached, and healed up incredibly well. She was 5.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 1:58PM
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Texas_Gem

Yikes! Glad he is going to be okay.
Sounds like its time to implement the "no crossing this line when Mommy (or Daddy) is cooking"

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 2:12PM
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greenhaven

Wow! How very scary! I am glad the early reports are favorable for full recovery. My kids are no longer little, but I have a grandson who has just learned to crawl. It is amazing how much you forget about baby-proofing in a "mere" twenty years. Rest assured i have taken your lesson to heart.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 2:13PM
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eandhl

I am so sorry you all had to go through this and glad it wasn't worse.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 2:35PM
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Iowacommute

Man this has been a bad week. Yesterday we were in a car accident and the rear window shattered all over my 3 year old daughter. My poor babe was holding up a piece of glass and trying to give it to me when I opened the door. Luckily she had one tiny scrape on one finger.

My DD likes to cook with me as well. I have to keep the knives in an upper cabinet (just out of her reach...for now), but she seems to be drawn to them. I always have to go behind DH too to make sure all of the pan handles are turned to be over the stove. Plus we live on a farm so not only does she get 'kitchen' danger but watching for tractors, horses, dangers of grain bins, and then there is all of the equipment in the shop. Eh and I wondered why I had to start dying my hair after I had her. ;)

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 2:55PM
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SparklingWater

Good healing wishes for you all, especially your son.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 2:55PM
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weissman

Glad things are going to be okay. Just curious. Was your son sitting on the counter before this happened or did he actually climb up onto the counter while your wife was turned away? Seems like he couldn't reach into the tube while standing on the ground.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 3:00PM
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zeebee

Oh my goodness! I'm glad the little one is on the mend and you can crack a joke during what must still be a stressful and scary time.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 3:03PM
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edb2n

Thank you everyone for the good wishes. It was a very scary and emotional time. But the hand specialist was very encouraging, and our son is through the worst of the pain. He's almost returned to his usual happy self. They put him in a cast to the elbow to protect it from getting bumped or anything. He's discovered that the cast makes a loud noise when you bang it on things, much to his delight!

Weissman, he was sitting on the counter next to her. He loves to cook with her (pouring ingredients into the bowl, stirring things, scooping out cookies, etc.), and that's special time they enjoy together. Of course, in retrospect, it's a bad idea to put a two year old on the counter next to a food processor, but it's one of those things you don't think about in the moment.

They gave us toddler oxycodone for his pain. It's in liquid form. Maybe lavender_lass can mix some with her cocktail while the in-laws are in town.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 3:53PM
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dcward89

All I can say is Thank God in heaven this wasn't any worse. I actually know someone with this same exact story. Son was sitting on the counter "helping" Mom cook. Mom was making homemade salsa...all ingredients in the food processor and turned on, dropped knife on the floor, bent to pick it up and in that split second son put his hand down the chute to put a little piece of tomato in that was left on the cutting board. Unfortunately her little boy lost 3 fingers at the 2nd joint and they were so mangled in the food processor that they could not be saved. Hug your little one tight tonight and realize how much worse it could have been. I'm so thankful he's gonna be ok.

Makes you wonder if there should be some type of safety mechanism in those chutes.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 4:08PM
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amck2

Sending healing thoughts to all involved. And want to thank you for posting. Your experience serves as a cautionary tale and I bet everyone reading it will take an extra measure of caution working in the kitchen with our little ones because of it.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 4:20PM
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Texas_Gem

edb2n- retrospect says it all huh? I had a similar incident with my 2 year old, not cutting, burning and being life flighted to a burn center 2 hours away which is why I now have my "you don't cross that line while mommy's cooking" rule.
Of course I still do things like cookies and stuff with them, but FAR away from anything hot or sharp!

SOOO glad his injury appears to be relatively minor!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 4:46PM
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Skyangel23

wow! I'm so glad your little boy is okay. Just another reminder that we cannot take our eyes off them for a second. We have not had any kitchen close calls, but when my daughter was two, she pulled away from me, ducked between a railing that I couldn't get through as quickly as she could, and dashed into oncoming traffic, very nearly getting hit.
Toddlerhood is such a dangerous age because they do not understand danger. Hug your little one tight tonight!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 5:43PM
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blfenton

Oh I'm so glad your son will be ok. It is so scary with little ones in the kitchen.

My nieces 2 year old son put his fingers into the toaster this morning because he thought his toast should be done. Toasters will burn little fingers it turns out. He was helping mom make his breakfast.

She has taught him that stoves and ovens are hot but never thought about the toaster.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 7:30PM
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ellenandco

The only thing I can add is my experience: I lopped off my fingertip at age 3 when I slammed it in the door between the garage and house. The tip was stitched on. Based on photos, I wore a cast like you described. The repair failed, however, as a new, fully functioning fingertip grew back. There's a bit of thickness/scarring under my fingernail but you'd never know the injury occurred. Hope for the same for your kiddo!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 7:41PM
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Trebruchet

This is my left hand. Table saw, dado blade, December 5, 1979. Notice I got the middle and ring fingers too. Kinda looked like spaghetti right afterward.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 8:26PM
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Iowacommute

Tre-you save time on trimming your fingernails. Badabump. Enter Monty Python's "Always look on the bright side of life."

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 8:33PM
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robo (z6a)

How scary! I'm so happy he's just about back to his happy self. Things happen so quickly with kids and they always seem to be geniuses at finding that one thing we didn't think about to get into.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 8:36PM
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andreak100

I'm so glad to hear that he should be okay. How terrible that must have been for your whole family as this whole thing was playing out...but especially your wife as I'm sure she was blaming herself (like we all do when something that we really wouldn't have imagined as a "possible issue" comes to happen). I hope that this experience doesn't keep your wife and son from sharing the special bonding times in the kitchen.

Accidents happen. As much as we try to anticipate every single thing that might potentially harm our children, we can't always prevent them from "growing up". We try our best to keep them as safe as we can fully knowing that in spite of our best efforts, there will be boo-boos along the way...some more serious than others. I'm so very glad to hear that it sounds as if your little guy will be just fine.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 8:43PM
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edb2n

DW has definitely been feeling guilty. I try to remind her that there's no way anyone can prevent every possible accident a 2 year old could have. I still get sick to my stomach thinking about him putting his hand down in that chute. Praise The Lord it wasn't worse. Thanks Ellen and Tre for sharing your experience. Helps me remember that we recover and move on.

I'm a pretty serious classical pianist, and I've always hoped one of my boys might play the piano. While I have no idea if he'll even be interested, I hope this doesn't preclude the possibility.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 11:11PM
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lazy_gardens

"But the doctor says children that age have a remarkable ability to regrow and regenerate tissue, and even small amounts of bone."

Yes, they do ... and the "trick" is to NOT mess with them - few if any sutures, just protect it and watch.

============
Makes you wonder if there should be some type of safety mechanism in those chutes.

It's called an "off button".

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 11:14PM
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Sarina

Glad he is okay !!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 11:31PM
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Texas_Gem

edb2n- Please tell your wife that 1. I can relate and 2. It ABSOLUTELY wasn't her fault.

I was 38 weeks pregnant with number 3, the day after my husbands birthday. I made stew for dinner, ladled the bowls and then pushed them far back onto the counter so they could cool. I was about 12 feet away, folding laundry when I saw my 2 year old try to grab the bowl. I told her no, and...to this day, 3 years later, I still see it in my head in slow motion. Me, moving towards her to stop her, her grabbing the edge of her bowl and this boiling hot stew dumping all over her. I rushed to pull her clothes off and her skin came with it. My husband, who arrived home just as it happened, put her in the car with nothing but a diaper and a cold towel over the burn and rushed her to the ER where they promptly put her on a medivac helicopter to the specialized burn center 2 hours away. We raced there and when we walked in, the first thing I saw was my little angel, all doped up on morphine, sitting with a nurse singing itsy bitsy spider. Took a long time before I could hear her sing that song without tearing up.
I spent a long time beating myself up about it, should have, could have, etc but bottom line is, looking back, there was nothing I could have done differently. In a morbid sort of way, I am glad I watched it happen. If it had happened when I was out of the room, I would have constantly questioned if I could have stopped it had I been there.
Since I was right there, I KNOW there was nothing I could have done differently. It was an accident, plain and simple.
The only thing I would have done differently, which I do now with all 4 of my kids is, you do NOT cross this line when mommy is cooking. Of course that has changed as they have gotten older but in general, it is the rule in our house. Children just aren't allowed in the kitchen unless it is one child under close supervision doing something like cookies.

Your wife is going to need your support. She probably feels a lot more guilty than she is letting on and is likely playing through the situation in her head over and over. Remind her, over and over, that she wasn't negligent and it was just an accident.

As far as playing piano, I'm sure your boy will come through fine. My daughter was burned mostly on her chest and I remember, in the days and weeks that followed, telling my husband that if she had to have reconstructive surgery once she hit puberty because the scar tissue wouldn't stretch, we were paying for it, no questions asked. I didn't want it to be something that would negatively impact her as an adult. Thankfully, after a year of constant vigilance, care and regular checkups with the burn center, no one can even tell she was ever burned unless they see her after she has been out in the sun all day and they know where her burns were.

She still remembers the event but not the pain. She talks about riding in the plane (it was a helicopter) with the 2 nice men and how her lips hurt (she fell and busted her lip trying to get away from the burn)

In a few years, this will be a distant memory for all of you, though your son may very well recall some details like my daughter has. Thankfully she has never mentioned remembering the pain and hopefully, your son won't either.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 12:41AM
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nightowlrn

Thank you for the cautionary tale. I hope he physically and your wife emotionally heal quickly. My boys are now adults and thankfully we had no kitchen injuries along the way, but as the years of having grandchildren approaches I appreciate the reminder. Years ago, friends of ours were making fried something or other in a plug in thing and their small child pulled the cord and of course the oil followed. Poured all over his little head and body. And, the mom suffered burns trying to intervene. Both survived after stays in a burn unit and surgeries. The child suffered life long scarring and is an adult now. I like the "do not cross the line" rule.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 1:38AM
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bob_cville

I hope your little guy feels better quickly. Your story reminded me of a news story I read a few years back about a woman who had a similar accident and who found a newer treatment that her doctors knew nothing about, that allowed for a more complete recovery .

I managed to find the article online
http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/09/09/pinky.regeneration.surgery/index.html

I smashed the end of my left index finger between a metal fence post and a giant hammer, removing the tip right down to the bone. I was wearing leather gloves, and at first it didn't hurt even though the finger tip of the glove was mostly severed, and I thought I had fortuitously escaped injury. Then after about 10 seconds the pain signals got though. Through the recovery I used a small form-fit metal cover that shielded the end of the finger so that I wouldn't brush or scrape or bang the tip on everything.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 11:23AM
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chisue

Thanks for the story -- reminding us how FAST a child can move, and NOT to sit them on top of a counter. (They can fall off, too!) How lucky this can be repaired well today.

My DH mashed his thumb in an entry door left ajar. He had run to greet his father, tripped, and fell against the heavy door, slamming it on his thumb. Today he wouldn't have to live over seventy years with a deformed thumb.

Our DS was about three when he came running up our front walk with a kite. The front of the kite struck and broke the storm door. I watched it happen from too far inside the house to prevent it! Thanks to safety glass, DS was frightened, but uninjured -- and learned a lesson about spacial relationships.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 12:11PM
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edb2n

Thanks Texas Gem. It's encouraging to know someone else has felt the sme things.
DW and I had a long talk tonight about new rules and safety procedures in the kitchen. We still want him to be able to enjoy cooking with his mother, but we now know we must keep away from anything hot or sharp. I think we have it worked out. We'll take this incident, plus the ones y'all have described, as a lesson to help us avoid something worse.

Interesting about the tissue regeneration, Bob. Hopefully we won't need it, but I'm saving that article just in case.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 1:13AM
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Texas_Gem

No problem edb2n- honestly I was afraid to share my story at first for fear of hyjacking the thread...but, bottom line is I KNOW what it feels like to be there and if your DW can read someone elses account of going through something similar, hopefully it will help.

Trust me when I say, (although I, personally wouldn't have believed it at the time), that in a few years this will be a distant memory.

Good luck with your baby boy!! I'm sure he will be fine.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 4:39AM
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chisue

We had a 12" high step stool our DS could use to see what Mommy was cooking. He could see, but not reach far back onto the countertop.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 3:00PM
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ILoveRed

Accidents happen, no matter how vigilant you are. Little fingers can even be amputated in recliner mechanisms. Put a Popsicle stick in your car electric window and see what happens. Your poor wife. She must just feel awful.

I'm glad he is ok.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 3:10PM
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smalloldhouse

@edb2n, be extra kind to your wife. That must have been awful to see, and even more awful to feel direct responsibility for the injury. My boys have thus far managed to avoid injuries in our tiny kitchen, but I can relate to what your wife is going through from a slightly different experience. A few years ago, I was driving my kids to a Halloween party when we were hit by another car - the impact was right at the door where my 2yo was in his car seat, covered in shattered glass and a side air bag. We were spun around by the force and stalled in the middle of a busy 8-lane city street. No one was hurt, amazingly, but the accident was my fault because I had pulled onto the road. It was an incredibly traumatizing experience, and every time I get into the car I think about how much more horrible it could have been. I imagine your wife will have those moments in the kitchen. I hope your wife isn't too hard on herself and that your son heals quickly and completely.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 5:21PM
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chiefy

(hugs)
Thank you for sharing this story. My little one turns three next week and also loves to "help." I think I'm training him well in regards to the stove, but I'm sure a situation like this easily could have happened.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 6:30PM
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