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Parents – Please Be Cautious of Shower Drains

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We have 4 kids but have managed to avoid of the ER…until tonight. The evening was progressing like any other. We’d just finished up dinner and our youngest Gideon, who just turned a year old, was dirty after dinner, as most 12 month olds are. We are living at my inlaws’ house right now while we wait for repairs to be finished on our new home (3 more weeks!) and the bathroom we use doesn’t have a bathtub, only a shower. We’ve been here for 3 months though and I’ve always just plugged the drain with a flat rubber drain cover, filled the shower, then let him play in the bottom of the shower for his bath. Sometimes I even bring him into the shower with me in the mornings so I can get a shower and he is happy and content. He loves playing in the water in there.

So, for the 100th time, I turned on the shower, plugged the shower drain, filled the shower, and he played happily in the water. Then his brother came into the bathroom and needed help with something. During the moment I had my back turned, Gideon removed the cover from the shower drain and stuck his fingers in the holes. He stuck one finger in too far. So far that it would not come back out. At first I didn’t think it was a big deal. I yelled to Orin to bring in some olive oil and poured that over his finger. It still wouldn’t budge. Then we unscrewed the drain cover and looked closely. It was getting swollen in the hole so we tried ice, and then grease. Nothing was helping his little finger to even budge. That’s when we knew we needed to head into the ER.

finger stuck in shower drain

finger stuck in drain

toddler's finger stuck in drain

It was obvious that our local ER doesn’t see many patients with “finger stuck in shower drain” as their main ailment and there was talk among the nurses about how they were going to get this thing off. The doctor came in then and informed us that he would use some suturing thread, wrap it tightly around the finger where it was swollen, and then slide it off.

The poor little guy was obviously annoyed by the metal plate stuck to his finger, but was actually in good spirits considering the situation. (He was handling it much better than me that’s for sure!) Here he is smiling while we were waiting for the doctor.

Finger stuck in drain

I had to hold my baby tightly as he screamed and tried to break away while they wound the thread over his little finger. It was such a hard parenting moment to watch him in pain, noticeably frightened. I choked back tears while he cried. The doctor was wonderful though and had it removed in probably 60 seconds (although it felt like an eternity). I nursed Gideon immediately afterwards and it soothed him right away. He was so tired at that point, (well paste his bedtime) that he fell right asleep. He has small cuts on his finger and it was still a little swollen as I laid him in bed this evening, but he should be just fine. He was playing happily on the car ride home, even smacking his hand on things without seeming like it hurt him at all.

Although everything turned out okay, it was a scary situation and not one any parent would want to be in. I share my story to say, if you have a drain like this, please, please watch your children around them. Be aware that their little fingers CAN get stuck in it.

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