Parents! Beware of this danger at your neighbourhood estate
Sean and Suzanna Lim had a harrowing experience when their five year old son sustained a serious injury to his thumb and was rushed to the hospital for an emergency surgery. (WARNING: Graphic images)
It’s every parent’s nightmare to hear that their child was involved in an accident and sustained a serious injury which would require emergency surgery.
But that’s exactly what happened on Saturday 2nd July 2016, just a few days after Jaden Lim’s fifth birthday, at the neighbourhood estate in Haig Road.
What started off as a normal part of his weekly routine to get some outdoor play at the HDB playground near their home soon ended up landing him a trip to the emergency room.
Suzanna Lim, mother of three, would usually bring her youngest son to the playground for some fresh air and exercise about thrice a week in the evenings, but that fateful day she was down with a bad bout of the flu and rested at home while her domestic helper brought Jaden out instead.
In the blink of an eye
Just next to the playground is an open-air fitness corner which is accessible to the public and Jaden had headed over there to try out one of the exercise equipment.
As he was swinging on the elliptical glider, he suddenly slipped and tripped up, but his domestic helper who was right by his side was able to quickly grab hold of him before he fell face down.
However, his tiny thumb somehow managed to get caught in between a small gap at one of the joints on the exercise equipment and that’s when he sustained a serious injury.
Suzanna says, “Jaden did not yell in pain nor cry as I guess he was too shocked that he could not pull his thumb free. My helper, in a state of panic after seeing the gushing blood, screamed for help and told Jaden not to move his thumb. During that time, my helper knew that Jaden had fractured his thumb as she could see his thumb bone through the open wound.”
A passerby managed to help free Jaden’s thumb from the elliptical glider and as the domestic helper did not have her mobile phone with her, she rushed him back home and Suzanna immediately brought him to the hospital to seek medical attention.
Emergency surgery required
Although he had sustained such a serious injury, Jaden remained silent and his mother described him to be in a state of shock.
“He didn’t scream nor shed a tear. Recalling and looking back, I must say that he is so brave! If [it was] me, I think I [would have] surely fainted just by looking at the gushing blood!”, says Suzanna.
Jaden was immediately ushered to see a doctor and when the surgeon on duty rushed for him to get an x-ray to confirm his fractured thumb, it was discovered that he had tiny crushed bone fragments which had to be extracted before infection set in his open wound.
Suzanna and Sean were informed by the surgeon that he might have to cut out some of the minor and major veins in Jaden’s left thumb and at that point it was uncertain whether a metal plate would also have to be inserted.
“Just by looking at the x-ray wasn’t enough to determine the extent of his injury. He was admitted and prepped for surgery at once”, Suzanna recalls.
Six weeks for full recovery
Jaden was immediately admitted and prepped for emergency surgery, which took more than an hour.
Fortunately a metal plate was not required to be inserted in his thumb, nor were there any major veins removed.
He received a total of 10 stitches and his finger was put in a splint instead.
“Post [operation], Jaden kept vomiting and was drowsy. He vomited quite a number of times due to the strong dose of anaesthesia. Thank God, [there were] no other side effects from the drug and he was discharged soon after” Suzanna tells us.
It took him about four to six weeks to completely heal and he also had to undergo physiotherapy (physical therapy) as part of his recovery process.
Ever since that horrific incident, Jaden has not returned to the playground and fitness corner area, nor has he requested to go back there.
Playground safety rules
To ensure that your little ones are safe from injuring themselves while at the playground or any outdoor play area, parents should take note of these simple safety rules:
- Adult supervision is required, especially for younger children
- Avoid using any equipment if it is wet or appears to be faulty
- Kids should not push or shove each other
- Make sure that there is no improper usage of any equipment
- Refrain from eating and littering around the area
- Use of age-appropriate equipment is recommended
Although the neighbourhood playground and fitness corner are familiar places Jaden would often visit about three times a week as part of his outdoor play routine, Suzanna never expected such a freak accident to occur.
As careful as we may think we are, and even if a responsible adult is on standby to supervise young children during play, Suzanna reminds everyone, “Caution: Parents, guardians and helpers — be more alert. In a blink of an eye, accidents can [and] do happen!”
At what age do you think it’s ok for children to go to the playground on their own? Do you have any similar stories to share with our readers? Leave your feedback and comments below!