Hayley Skye Smith was shopping at her local store in Toormina, New South Wales, Australia, for a jacket for her 20-month-old daughter, Amaia, when the unthinkable happened.
Young Amaia had been looking at a selection of colorful headbands and jewelry next to the rack of jackets her mother was perusing. When the little one leaned forward to grab something, a metal prong on the end of the rack went right into her eye.
“I heard her crying and didn’t know exactly what had happened until [Smith’s sister] Tohri told me,” Smith told Yahoo Australia’s Be outlet. “I thought maybe she accidentally walked into the [shopping cart], but I was very wrong.
“I picked her up to comfort her, saying I’m going to carry her from now on. Then she looked at me with her eye full of blood.
“Immediately I panicked and ran over to the young bag check boy. He then panicked and didn’t know what to do as he saw my daughter’s eye and nose pouring out blood.”
Amaia suddenly stopped crying and went floppy and unresponsive.
“My heart sunk to my stomach,” Smith said. “My stomach was in my feet and my head was in the clouds. 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.”
Thankfully it wasn’t long before Amaia regained consciousness, and the Kmart staff — who Smith says were “all lovely” — assisted them to the back room as they waited for an ambulance.
“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, my legs were getting weak, and I was breaking a sweat from all the shock,” Smith said.
A traumatized Amaia refused to break away from her mother’s grip until they got to the hospital and it came time to assess the damage.
Fortunately, it turned out that her eyeball was OK and that the metal prong had gone under, not into, her eyelid. Had it been the tiniest bit lower, Amaia could have lost her eye.
Smith — who kept monitoring her daughter’s swollen eye for the next few days — was left shaken up by the whole ordeal and wants to raise awareness about the potential dangers of similar shopping racks.
“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,” she said. “I want my story out there so other people can be aware and not go through what I had to.”
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