Monday, 23 November 2009

A cup of coffee, a panic, an ambulance and the advice that saved my baby.

Yesterday morning wasn't good.  Yesterday afternoon was worse.

We had promised L that we would go and buy her some new knickers and a new potty. So off we went, bundled into the car, for a couple of hours of joy at the retail park.  While there we seized the opportunity also to buy L some new shoes.  She is clearly a changeling because she doesn't appear to enjoy buying shoes (am also wondering if she's really female) so was bribed into it with the promise of cake (more good parenting there).

So off we went to M&S (this being the only retail park in the Western Hemisphere with no Starbucks) for a reviving coffee and cake. 

Picture the scene.  B doing the hunter-gathery stuff at the counter. Me and L sitting on the bench on one side of the table, S and A in highchairs on the other side, all waving to each other and showing each other how clever we are because we can clap.  I wanted to bottle the scene and take it out in years (or hours) to come to remind me of how perfect my girls can be and how lucky I am.

Until B came back with the food and drinks, unloaded them onto the table and went to put the tray away. And A grabbed the full cup of coffee and tipped it all over herself.

It probably didn't happen in slow motion, but it felt like it did.

And in my head was the voice of my lovely friend SVS, saying to me not four weeks ago "I remember when G (her youngest) tipped a pot of tea all over herself. Fortunately I knew exactly what to do.  I ripped her clothes off and charged through the cafe into the ladies and stuck her in the sink and kept her there until the ambulance came.  She's fine now".

I didn't know exactly what to do. I had no idea what to do.  But somehow I heard SVS.  And though I was shaking and crying and yelling for B, together we ripped (literally - we have lost several buttons) her clothes off and B grabbed her and got her in the sink. 

The staff called the ambulance and between us we managed to keep the other two entertained, and A's tummy and chest covered with cold compresses until they got there.  They took us off to the hospital where the doctor told me that due to our prompt action in doing exactly the right thing, she has suffered no serious damage.  Had we not done so it could have been a very different story.  We were home again later on the same day.  A is now clearly feeling a bit sore at times, but she is (and will be) fine.

So anyway, the point of this post is threefold:

First; to thank SVS for her incredibly timely advice (even though she had no idea she was giving advice at the time) and to thank the amazing staff at M&S in Kew.  They were utterly utterly brilliant.  We walked away with new clothes for A, a jigsaw to keep L happy, a towel to wrap A in and they even (bizarrely) refunded all the drinks. They also kept a very stressed and worried pair of parents calm with their sensible and friendly advice and approach.  I've written to them and to their head office, but I also wanted to say it on here.

Second; because this is what I seem to use my blog for a lot of the time, to revisit that panic and fear and to remind myself, in writing, that it is all ok and she (and we) are all fine.

And, most importantly, third; in the hope that others will read this, and if and when (and sadly it's more likely to be when rather than if where babies are concerned), someone else's child grabs something hot, maybe they too will be lucky enough to have a little voice in their head telling them what to do.  And hopefully they too will be fine.


  1. Oh my god what a horrible experience. I'm glad she's ok and well done for acting so quickly. I always wonder what I would be like in an emergency like that but obviously pray it doesn't happen.

  2. How scary for you and I am so glad that A is OK if not a little sore. Your clear and quick thinking undoubtedly stopped her from having any serious injuries and now anyone who reads this will know how to handle a similar situation.


  3. Oh lord, what a nightmare. I am so glad you had the wherewithal to know what to do. It must have been so scary once the adrenaline disappeared. Well done to M&S, it is nice to hear a store doing more than they needed too.

    When MiniMad was tiny I went on a paediatric first aid course as I was so scared anything would happen.

    Well done and I am so glad all is OK.

  4. Fantastic post, I would never have known to do that - but I do now. Thanks.

  5. Oh poor you. That bit of being a parent is just the worst - the accidents, I mean.

    I'm so glad you had that advice in your head. Is it icy compresses, or just cold compresses that you're meant to use? Would filling a sink with cold water and putting the injured body part in (if that's possible) be as good?

  6. that was a horrible experience, and glad everything is getting better. i had a similar voice: hot transfers through any layer; chase it and stop it with cold.

    fortunately (so far, touch wood and fingers crossed) i have only needed this on my own fingers from the oven!

  7. That is so scary. I'm so pleased you're all ok. Well done you for your quick thinking x

  8. Thank you all for lovely comments. Iota (hello - hope you had a good time away) it shouldn't be icy cold because then they get too cold (a friend made her little boy hypothermic). We were running pads of kitchen paper under the cold tap and holding them against her and refreshing them every minute or so. Apparently (and this is from the friend with the hypothermic little boy) if you're going to keep them under the tap or in the sink it should be tepid rather than ice cold, but as soon as it starts to feel warm from the heat of the burn cool it down again.

  9. oh my God, I've got tears in my eyes. I am so glad everything is now okay. the staff sound wonderful and you were amazing remembering in the panic what to do. and thank you for the advice incase needed in future.

  10. Thank you for this amazing piece of advice that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. My Little Miss is very conditioned to stay away from HOT TEA (as we call it and as she repeats) but you just never know. I'm always so wary when hot drinks or hot food is brought to the table by waiters or others. They never seem to be as aware or cautious about HOT things when a toddler is concerned. Thanks for this very important post and so glad to hear that your child is alright.
    Karin at Cafe Bebe

  11. Really good advice, have posted this up at Mother Knows Best today Thanks for letting me use it!

  12. Brought tears to my eyes! Glad she is doing OK, and thanks for the advice - will try to remember!

  13. Thanks very much for this! Have a very inquisitive 2 yo DS and this may be useful someday!

  14. That's brilliant advice.
    Presley pulled a hot cup of tea over himself at 11 months. We threw him in the sink and ran the cold tap. Fortunately he wasn't scalded. A complete miracle, not a mark on him.
    I wish I'd known exactly what to do, thanks for all the info - I hope I never need to use it.
    I'm so glad your little one is okay. x

  15. Thanks again to you all for lovely comments. A week in and you'd never know (apart from a few more grey hairs for yours truly) that it had happened. Hope it never happens to anyone else x


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