Toddler nearly loses her eye in Kmart accident
*WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES*
WHAT started out as a normal shopping outing to her local Kmart turned out to be an unexpected tragedy for mum Hayley Skye Smith and her 20-month-old, Amaia.
They were on the hunt for a warm winter jacket. Hayley, her cousin and her sister were browsing the kids' section. Her little girl was on foot as they had no pram and Amaia didn't like sitting in trolleys.
"Amaia spotted the racks of headbands and coloured kids jewellery next to the isle of jackets I was browsing,'' Hayley said.
"I let her have a look while I turned around next to her to look for her size. Kyra and Tohri were right beside her looking at all the colourful jewellery. 'Do you want that necklace?' Tohri, her aunt, asked her.''
Hayley told Kidspot that even though she watched it all happen, initially she had no idea her daughter was hurt.
"As she leaned forward the metal prong on the end of the rack above had gone in her eye. I heard her crying and didn't know exactly what had happened until Tohri told me. I thought maybe she accidentally walked into the trolley but I was very wrong.''
Hayley said she picked Amaia up to comfort her and only then saw that her eye was full of blood.
"Immediately I panicked and ran over to the young bag check boy a few short metres away. He then panicked and didn't know what to do as he saw my daughter's eye and nose pouring out blood.''
And then the moment that every parent dreads; Amaia stopped crying and went floppy.
"She then stopped crying. I lifted her off my chest into the air a little to see why. She went floppy, closed her eyes and wouldn't respond. My heart sunk to my stomach. So many things were running through my head. I thought maybe the prong could have gone as far as her brain and I was a mess,'' the traumatised mum said.
Amaia began to cry again and Hayley realised they desperately needed help.
As luck would have it, a nurse who worked in an emergency department entered the store with her kids.
"She came over to us to comfort us. We looked at my daughter's eye and there was just a big blood clot over it and I screamed 'oh my god. I don't want her to be blind'. I was so scared. The nurse said 'she's not blind' but I was in shock over everything.''
Hayley said the Kmart staff helped by getting a wet cloth to wipe her eye but Amaia wouldn't let anyone touch her.
"The staff were all lovely, they handed me a drink and got some details until the ambulance arrived,'' she said.
When they arrived at the hospital Amaia had to be held down, which broke Hayley's heart.
"She had to be wrapped in a blanket and held down so they could get a better look and see the damage. She was traumatised but they said her eyeball was okay and the metal prong had gone under her eyelid instead.
"I was so thankful it wasn't any worse and she didn't go blind or damage her eye in any way. The tiniest bit lower and my poor girl could have lost her eye.''
Hayley said she was relieved the damage wasn't permanent but she's still shaken.
"For the next few days she had a swollen eye with bloody gunk come out but it didn't bother her thankfully. Her slightly purple eyelid is fading and her eye is back to normal now.''
She wants other mums to be aware of the dangers hidden in a simple shopping trip.
"It terrifies me how dangerous these things are and that things could have gone so much worse because even I've walked close to one of these racks before and scratched my arm.''
Hayley said that the accident had happened even when three adults were closely supervising.
"I want my story out there so other people can be aware and not go through what I had to,'' she said.
A spokesperson for Kmart told Kidspot: "At Kmart we take safety extremely seriously. As with any incident of this nature, we'll look at whether there are any ways we can make the store safer and prevent an incident such as this happening to anyone else.''
This article appeared on Kidspot and has been republished here with permission.