Being a mom is a hard job. Many nights I spend wide awake, long after the kids have gone to sleep, thinking about the things I could have done better that day. I should have spent more time playing with them. I should have been more patient during a meltdown. How can I be better tomorrow? A few years ago I made a mistake that kept me awake for more than a few nights and my son was hurt pretty bad because of it. Writing about it now is a little scary and if this ever gets read by anyone I might even get a few not so nice comments, but if my story can help another parent and keep one kid safe I’m OK with sharing.
In January of 2014 my son was just over a year old. I put him down for a nap and came down stairs to relax a bit and pick up the house. It was a cold January morning and I turned on our gas fireplace to take the chill out of the air. An hour or so later he woke up and I turned of the fireplace before running upstairs to get him. We came down stairs to play like we usually did and within a few minutes he headed towards the fireplace with both hands in the air. In that moment I realized what was about to happen but I was too late to stop him. He slapped the glass on the fireplace with both hands and then instantly started to scream. Not sure what to do, I immediately called his pediatricians office. They sent us to the emergency room. On the way there I called my husband and he left work to join us as soon as he could, but he was at least an hour away. Luckily once we arrived to the hospital we were seen immediately and my son was given a dose of pain medication. Then we just sat there and cried together as we waited for the doctors to look him over and decide how to proceed. Finally after what seemed like forever and my husband arrived. Not sure why but as soon as Dad walked in the door my son cheered up immediately. The doctors decided that the burns were second degree that they didn’t need to send us to Children’s Hospital. They treated his burns and then wrapped his hands in little gauze like mittens and ask us to come back the next day. We followed up the next day, everything was looking good and we were told to follow up with his pediatrician on Monday. We followed up with them and at that time they decided we needed to go to Children’s. After a trip to the Children’s Hospital emergency room and new medicine and new wraps we were once again heading home and ask to follow up with them a few days later.
My son who is now three has no recollection of that scary day or the scary few days that followed. After he was initially treated he actually never seemed bothered by any of it. He didn’t mind his mittens and played like usual the next day. I, on the other hand, took months to heal from that day. I felt like a horrible mother for a really long time and writing this today almost two years later still brings me to tears. I didn’t use that fireplace again for almost a year and did so only after I put a safety screen on. After doing some research I discovered that new glass front fireplaces must now be installed with a safety screen and that some manufactures will send you a free screen to install on your existing fireplace. We have a Lennox fireplace and I was able to get my screen by using this link. I’m sure this link won’t work for everyone but if you are interested I would contact your manufacturer to see if they offer one.
Here is a picture of our fireplace with the screen installed. I think it still looks pretty good and it is now much safer 🙂
Thank you for reading,