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Holiday Decoration Disaster Almost Cost Toddler Her Finger

Photograph by Twenty20

Sean and Lisa Jackson thought they had babyproofed everything. With young children, one can never be too cautious when following Santa's example by making a list and checking it twice. But when holiday decorations come in so many sizes, shapes and materials, the reality is that you can't always account for everything.

The Missouri couple learned this the hard way when they found their 14-month-old daughter, Andi, with a green jingle bell stuck on her index finger. They laughed it off at first because of her mischievous nature. But they soon realized how serious it was when the bell wouldn't budge, even when they tried using baby oil.

The couple, who have three other daughters, rushed to a local emergency room after Andi's finger started bleeding. Surprisingly, the doctor said, "I'm not touching this. I haven't seen anything like this," Lisa told St. Louis County's KSN. By this time, the toddler was screaming in pain, despite being given local anesthesia.

The doctor recommended the family go to St. Louis Children's Hospital, where operating room doctors couldn't guarantee that Andi's finger would be saved. The bell had been on for five hours at this point.

According to KMOV in St. Louis, the doctors discussed using a "diamond saw" but didn't want to risk creating additional injury. Finally they were able to remove the bell with what looked liked high-tech needle-nose pliers.

Dr. Brad Warner at Children's Hospital told KSN that they see lots of injuries around the holidays, the scariest of which include swallowed toy batteries and magnets. Small items in gifts or easily pulled ornaments that go outside of a package can also be hazards.

Even in the Consumer Product Safety Commission's tracking of only 100 hospitals each year, they found that more than 1,700 emergency room visits between 2011 and 2015 were Christmas-related injuries. Accidents can happen while putting up or taking down decorations, unwrapping gifts with knives and scissors, or even while handling broken ornament bulbs. A disproportionate number of patients were young children, many of whom had swallowed small ornaments or were hurt by metal stocking holders.

Texas mom Kathleen Taylor told CNN she was hanging lights on her house when she felt the ladder start to wobble. She saw her toddler playing below and worried that the ladder would fall on her daughter. Taylor then jumped off and landed wrong on her left foot.

As for Andi, the tot was able to keep her finger but had her arms bandaged up and will need follow-up care. Her parents hope that by sharing their story, they could help others identify other unsuspecting holiday dangers.

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