As a parent, you try to choose carefully who you leave your kids around. Even if you only leave them with people you trust absolutely, accidents can happen. These family friends and family members looked back on the times they almost killed someone else's child and wonder why they were ever allowed around the kid in the first place.
(Content has been edited for clarity)
"When my dad was young, around six or eight, he would take care of his youngest brother, who was probably two or three at the time, just to help their mom out. One night, his mom asked if he would give his brother a bath while she made dinner, so he turned on the water, stripped his brother down and without checking the water temperature, plopped his brother in the water. His brother started screaming immediately and my dad had no idea what was going on, so he just tried to calm my uncle down. Their mom ran in from the kitchen, grabbed my uncle out of the water, gripping him under his armpits and her hands sunk into his skin like soft butter.
They had just moved into the house after living on a farm where they had no hot water, so my dad unknowingly filled the bathtub with extremely hot water and basically boiled his brother alive.
My uncle 50 some years later still has scars over quite a bit of his body and if you look closely under his armpits, there are faint outlines of his mother's hands embedded in his skin."
"Grandma (my mother) was visiting and doing some knitting. No sooner had the request, 'please make sure your (3-year-old) grandson can't get a hold of one of those,' come out of my mouth when I saw him racing around the sofa brandishing a knitting needle.
Time went into slow motion. I couldn't see him and my legs, strangely, wouldn't move fast enough. There was an odd silence. Then the crying. But it was a cry I'd not heard before. It was gargled somehow. Rounding the sofa, it was a scene for which I had no context. My son was sprawled on the ground. My brain first registered the blood. And then the bloody knitting needle. I turned him over and blood began spurting from his neck and hit the coffee table.
I grabbed his PJ top and applied pressure. I screamed at Grandma to call 911. Grandma forgot how to use 'this crazy telephone.' My husband ran in from the garden. A blur of an ambulance, attendants, neck brace, gurney, sirens, emergency room. There were ultrasounds, physical checks, stitches, monitors and finally an overnight stay in the hospital for observation. All was well.
Arriving home, Grandma said she thought we 'overreacted.' Much later she will be heard to wonder aloud why she is not allowed to babysit.
I feel obligated to say that we haven't held this incident against my mom, who is really a wonderful lady and excellent Grandma. To those wondering if she feels guilty, she doesn't. Not one bit. At least not outwardly. Her worldview is a bit difficult to describe, but it goes something like this: 'Nothing bad ever happens, so this thing that is happening cannot possibly be bad, tra -la-la-da-de-doo, who wants cookies!?' This makes her a fun-loving Grandma, but a poor choice as a babysitter. To those wondering how I survived to adulthood, I assure you my sisters and I appreciate that the probability that all three of us made it out of childhood alive was vanishingly small."
"I was with a friend, going to her house. It was the first day of summer vacation after kindergarten. Her dad didn't make us finish putting the seat belt on before driving away. We were in some truck like a Ford Ranger or something with just the single row of seats, so it was a tight fit. We were jostling each other, trying to each get a seatbelt on. I was next to the door. She pushed against me too hard (we could have been 'fighting'), just as we were going through a 90-degree turn, going at least 30 mph. The crappy old truck door flew open and I flew out. He didn't' run over me, but I went rolling down the gravel road.
He came back and picked me up and took me back to my dad. We lived in this TINY town (Newberry Springs in California). My dad had to drive me maybe half an hour to an hour to Barstow, CA to the hospital. I screamed the entire time. They got me to the ER and they had to scrub all the gravel out of me. All I remember from that point is my dad crying and holding me down and the big scary man (doctor) hurting me. Then I passed out.
I have a tiny bit of Native American in me and have really prominent cheekbones. On the right side of my face, you could see bone. You could see bone on both of my knees. My rear (I was wearing a dress) was skinned raw.
My knees still have a tiny bit of gravel in them and they got the brunt of the scaring. My cheek just looks like a little smidge of dirt. My dad was diligent about rubbing Vitamin E on it a couple times a day."
"I'm 10 years older than my youngest brother, so I'm almost like a second mother to him. When I was 13, I took him (aged 3) and my other younger brother (aged 6) to the park to give my mom a break for the afternoon.
I was swinging the 6-year-old on the tire swing and the 3-year-old decided he wanted to try. I was wary, but he convinced me he could hang on. He couldn't. He let go and he flew off that swing and smacked his head hard on the metal support.
It knocked him out cold and when he came to, he was doing that silent scream thing that kids do when they're really freaked out. I called my mom on the phone and met her at the hospital, which was a block away. I gave him a minor concussion and myself a heart attack."
"Once while watching a 3-year-old (my godson), we went to a local model train store that he loved. Everything went great and he had a lot of fun. While walking back to the car, he was tugging at my hand, and said, 'I want to run!' We'd made it past the last car in the lot except ours, no visible moving cars anywhere ahead of us, and it looked like absolute clear, safe sailing all the way back to our parked car.
So, I let go, and said, 'Go ahead! Run!' It all seems so predictable now. He ran about 5 feet forward into the completely empty parking lot, towards our car, then did a 180-degree turn with a speed and agility that would make a hummingbird proud, and took off back the way we came, back into the busy part of the parking lot. Trust me when I tell you that it is simply not possible for a 185-pound adult to change direction that quickly. Fortunately, I still had the presence of mind to yell 'Stop!' at the top of my lungs. He stopped himself just short of a big SUV with its backup lights on. I think the driver may have seen him. I don't know.
Anyway, here's what I learned about small kids:
Just because traveling in a certain direction is obvious and natural to you does not mean your toddler thinks the same thing. All directions of travel are 'on the table.'
Toddlers can maneuver much more quickly than you can.
You need to be holding your toddler's hand firmly any place there are cars. Even cars that could never, ever be a source of danger. Because they still can be."
: https://www.shutterstock.com/g/Kamelia Ilieva
"I left my 3-year-old son with my mother for 30 minutes to help my father outside with some fence repairs in the back corner of his lot. I thought I heard something off in the distance while just finishing up repairs (my parents lived on a 10-acre property) and then I heard it again off in the distance.
At first, my dad thought the sound was a wounded animal or an ambulance siren. I stood there, listening for a second, and then said, 'That's my boy!' and tore back to their house. I got to their outside back patio, sweating like Bernie Madoff when the auditors came in. My son was crying so hard he could barely breathe, face streaked with tears, and red lines. And my mother was sitting there, reading a magazine. I picked him up and I swear I have never had him grip me so hard like he was scared for his life.
Now, he doesn't cry. I have seen him fall hard and he doesn't even blink, he just gets right up and trucks on. I have seen him get hit with an errant soccer ball in the face, with his nose bloodied, and he gets right back in there.
This was different. My mother nonchalantly wouldn't say what happened, as if it was a minor daily occurrence. I asked why she didn't get him a Kleenex. Her reply?
'He didn't ask for one.'
My son couldn't say what had happened, but he was scared. It took all my strength to pry my son off of me and into his car seat. Then I left. It was a 15-minute ride to our house and he was still sobbing when we got home. Two whole weeks I had to sleep with the kid because he would wake up screaming or crying.
It took me three weeks before I would even go back there with my son. It took him three months to even convince him to go near my mother alone.
It still burns me to not know what happened.
My son doesn't remember the incident and my mother is a piece of work (she makes stuff up constantly).
She treats the kids like they are lower class citizens of some foreign land, if that makes sense. When she wants to 'talk' (as she calls it) to my daughter and get a kiss from her (and my daughter resists to her last breath), my mother will torque her arms above the elbows so it is painful to her triceps and literally makes my daughter stand on tippy-toe because it hurts her shoulders and arms so much.
And at this point, my daughter, tears welling up, says, 'Grandma you are HURTING ME! STOP! STOP!!!' I tell/yell for her to stop that she is hurting her and she lets go saying, 'You're so stupid, I'M THE GRANDMOTHER WHY WOULD I HURT HER?!?'
I am afraid, but I am also biologically programmed to recognize her as my mother and put up with it (to a degree). Problem is family dynamic is utterly complex.
Five years on and my son and daughter (my daughter, same thing, something happened) won't go there alone and my wife and I never leave the kids in my mother's care. I know she'd threaten the kids into not telling me if something really bad physically happens when I am not there.
To make matters more confusing for me is that recently, someone who knows their stuff (the wife is a child psychologist), said that after meeting my mother, she thinks that my mother possibly has a borderline personality disorder.
Never ever leave your kid with someone who you can not completely trust."
"I once watched two sisters, aged 7 and 5 years old. This was back when a teenage boy babysitting two young girls wasn't strange.
I took them to a public pool with a diving board at a 12' deep end and we had a blast. During safety breaks, the 7-year-old responsibly accompanied her younger sister to the girls' room while I waited in the lobby next to the registration desk for them to emerge.
What I didn't know was that there was a second exit to the bathrooms. The 5-year-old finished while her sister was still in the stall next to her and headed out that way, oblivious to her sister's voice. She then saw a pristine, empty deep end as the lifeguards had just cleared the pool.
I just happened to look out the main entrance to the pool and I saw a blur in a purple, frilly bathing suit run over and plop into the water. She went straight to the bottom.
I screamed something incomprehensible, hopped over the registration desk and ran out on the deck. A college-age female lifeguard was already at the deep end, but as I ran over, she just stood at the edge and looked down into the water. She didn't do anything. She didn't even throw out that hotdog shaped, reddish life preserver she was carrying.
I jumped in, swam to the bottom and retrieved the 5-year-old. She was cackling with glee when I swam her to the shallow end and as we were getting out, she kept interrupting my admonitions by telling me just how deep the water was over there. I apologized to the lifeguard, even though I resented her for not acting fast enough, but at least the kid was safe.
The 7-year-old, convinced that she had lost her sister, was crying as she came over to our deck chairs. Despite my stern tone, the 5-year-old was still all smiles and joy up to that point, but one look at her sister's face and she started bawling in that way that little kids do when they aren't sure what to cry about.
So then we had a reading break with 'Mike Mulligan's Steam Shovel,' and 'The Caboose that got Loose' with some freezy-pops until we were okay again.
During the next safety break, I dried them off and started to adjust the 7-year-old's goggles. I remember hearing the 'whap whap whap' sound that tiny feet make as they run full-impact on concrete. I looked up and the 5-year-old was leaping off the edge into the deep end again.
So the same thing happened. I ran past the lifeguard, who shook her head at me, even though I was doing her job, retrieved the child from 12-foot depth and then unsuccessfully convinced her that such behavior is dangerous. I put her in a timeout, which wiped the smile off her face, and she sulked for 10 eternal minutes while her sister swam and played.
Soon it was time to go home. The girls needed another bathroom break, so I took them over to the bathroom's deck entrance and ask the 7-year-old to hold the 5-year-old's hand as they went in. She did so, and I waited.
A moment later I heard peals of laughter. A whapping crescendo of footfalls told me that the 5-year-old was making a break for it. She came out of the exit at a full sprint and to my everlasting shame, I completely misjudged her trajectory and she slipped by me and leaped once more into the 12-foot water.
The lifeguard was right next to me as I went to get in again, and that time she told me, 'Stop!' She hopped in the deep end and looked down at the 5-year-old, but she didn't dive after her.
It was excruciatingly painful to watch. I imagined that the girl was looking up at me as she drowned, even though the surface ripples just reduced her to a vague, purplish blob. After what seemed like five minutes, the lifeguard kicked off the wall and bobbed up a moment later with the 5-year-old. She swam over to the ladder and hoisted her out to me. This time the 5-year old was concerned and alarmed, but I remember that she didn't cry.
The lifeguard said to me as we were leaving, 'Until there is real fear, for them, it's just a game.'"
"Once, while driving a 5-year-old around, he unbuckled his seatbelt and tried to climb out of the window, right into the middle of the road. I noticed when his body was dangling halfway out of the car and I was barely able to grab him by the leg and pull him back in.
My heart had stopped. You avert your eyes for a split second and these kids find a way to lemming themselves."
"I did this to my little sister when I was about 2 and a half and she was roughly 6 months old. In my defense, I was trying to be nice.
The rationale was as follows: I was apparently very fond of oranges. I would eat oranges whenever I could get my hands on them. I naturally thought my little sister would also like oranges. In my infantile mind, I then reasoned it would be a good idea to stuff her mouth with as many orange slices as possible so she could enjoy all that citrusy goodness. The result of all this is a 6-month-old girl rolling around on the floor, unable to breathe until a screaming mother ran into the room and got them all out."
"My sister took care of me a lot when I was a baby. One day, I was playing in the laundry room and happened to get a hold of one of the silica packets from a shoe box. According to my sister, I somehow got it open and ate half the packet while she was in her room. After she found out, she was scared pantsless and couldn't tell my parents. So she didn't and just watched me closely for the rest of the day, seeing if I did anything weird. I'm happy to say, I didn't die."
"I need to tell you about my brother.
Age 3: He tried to escape after bedtime through the upstairs bedroom window. Our neighbor was going down a path behind the row of houses and saw him dangling out the window, with his twin sister holding on to him, trying to pull him back up. In the time it took for the neighbor to vault over the 6-foot high garden wall and bang on the door, my brother had already fallen. We found him sitting cross-legged on the floor in the back garden. Apparently, he bounced.
Age 7-ish: On a family visit to a working farm with horses (in Yorkshire somewhere), he was playing quite happily with his toy cars, running them up and down the fence of one of the paddocks. He dropped one, it fell into where the horse and of course he went to fetch it... from underneath the horse. He got kicked in the forehead by a horse.
He's fallen out of trees, fallen off castle ruins, and god knows what else. But it took him until age 22 to break a bone. He broke his foot by stepping off a road curb.
"During the summer, the parents I babysat for would drop me off with the kids at a swim club they were members at. The oldest kid was maybe 7, the youngest was 3. Since the youngest couldn't swim yet, she had those inflatable arm floaty things to wear. Well, at the end of the day, I was packing everything up to get ready to leave, and I took her arm floaties off. I turned to put them in the bag, then I turned back around, she was gone.
I'd spent no more than 15 seconds with my back turned. Apparently, she decided to jump back in the pool for one last swim. There is nothing quite as heart-attack inducing as when I looked in the shallow end of the pool, and there she was just standing on the bottom, with this shocked look on her face since she had expected to float. I jumped right in and pulled her out. Again, she was only out of sight for maybe 15 seconds, so no harm was done. But still, scary as heck."
"The closest my son has ever come to danger was with my mom. I was there, but this was mom's fault. We were loading purchases into the back of the car outside a department store. He was a little over a year old and was strapped into the seat of the shopping cart. I went around to turn on the car and get the AC going. My mom lets go of the shopping cart to put her purse in and close the trunk. I stood up to see my son in the shopping cart, rolling at a pretty good clip down the hill, through the parking lot towards the four-lane highway.
He saw me looking, lifted a hand and did that cute bending-your-fingers wave kids do. You have never seen two women take off running so fast. He is a teenager now and anytime my mom criticizes me, I remind her of the time she sent him careening towards traffic."
"My little brother has had many serious injuries, but none with as big a risk as this. We were camping up in an old forge with our family for a week. At about 9 pm, we were going to head back up to our cabin. We looked around and we couldn't see him anywhere.
We were calling his name and running around, then we heard a large growl and a young boy giggle. So we started booking it in that direction. We turned the corner to find my brother petting and feeding a baby black bear... with the mother bear sitting right next to him. The mother bear saw us and started making a light noise, then the bears were gone into the night. He was two when this happened to him and he still doesn't know."
"When my sister was about two, my brother was about 6 months old. My mom went to do the dishes and laid my brother on the floor on a blanket in joining living room area. My sister picked up my brother and kind of held him in a choke-hold, with an arm around his neck, carrying him around by the head. My mom said she almost had a heart attack as she saw my sister carrying my brother around by his neck, swinging him around and saying, 'Dolly!'
My mother, thinking quickly, said, 'Shh, baby sleeping,' which made my sister become cautious and stopped moving. My mom asked if she could see her dolly and since my sister thought the dolly was sleeping, she very gently gave my brother to my mom. My mom thought for sure he was a goner."