Cragmama "Not all who wander are lost…" JRR Tolkien

Sandbox Safety 101

We had an incident just recently that prompted me to write yet another post about safe outdoor play in the backyard.  But unlike my last safety post, this one doesn’t have anything to do with creepy-crawlies (cue sighs of relief from a select few, my mother included…).  Nope, today’s warnings are related to a source generally seen as much more benign than snakes – but ironically it caused a lot more problems!

You see, we had a bit of a “sand emergency” the other day.  Cragbaby and I were sitting outside at the sandbox, enjoying a few peaceful moments of bulldozing and excavating before it was time to go inside for lunch.  It was a beautiful fall morning, and we were both relishing the chance to spend it outside.  But just as I was standing up to tell C it was lunch time, he shrieked.  At first I assumed he was pitching a fit because he didn’t want to put his bulldozers away, but when I looked up, I realized that poor C was panic-stricken, and frantically pawing at his face. 


Also look out for the thugs that like to hang out near kid’s sandboxes…oh wait, that’s just Crag-Daddoo, unaware he’s in the picture… 🙂

He began shouting.  I immediately scooped him up, and ran into the house, pressing him up close against my chest so as to pin his hands down to prevent him from scratching and making it worse.  I plopped him in the bathroom sink, and wiped his face off with a warm washcloth.  He calmed down immediately, and it seemed as though all was well.  I didn’t look underneath his eyelids, but his eye did not look irritated in the least, so I thought we were in the clear.  I figured that he had probably closed his eyes just in time, covering his eyelashes with sand, but keeping it out of his eyes.  

We sat down to lunch, and as we ate I decided to do a quick google search on “sand in a toddler’s eye”.  The results were rather alarming, so I decided it would be a good idea to take a closer inspection of C’s eye – and I’m so glad I did!  I pulled down on his lower eyelid, and literally found a TROUGH of sand lining the entire width of his eyelid!  For the life of me I can’t figure out why he wasn’t scratching it or rubbing at it!!!  After regaining my composure, I told C to finish his lunch while I gathered any and all supplies I thought would be useful (and also got a call in to C’s pediatrician…)

After multiple attempts with 3 different techniques (flushing with one of those infant nose bulb things, “sweeping” the lid with a paper towel rolled to a point, and opening eyes in a bowl of water), I had gotten most of it out.  The nurse couldn’t squeeze him in til later on in the afternoon, so I went ahead and put him down for a nap.  The doctor’s visit revealed that there was still sand at either corner of his eye, but C was a very, very brave boy, and I was very proud that he got through it with only a few tears.  I was also very thankful that he had not scratched his cornea at all during this ordeal.  We left the doctor’s office all smiles and even went back and played in the sandbox later on that afternoon (this time very carefully).  

Moral of the story?  Be very careful around sand!  But in the unfortunate event that your child DOES get sand in his/her eye(s), take the following steps – 

1.  Stay calm.  Your child will feed off your emotions – if you are visibly freaking out, they will quickly follow suit. 
2.Do whatever you have to do to keep your  child from scratching/rubbing the affected eye.
3. Don’t get near your child’s eyes without washing your own hands first.
4. Flush the eye in whatever manner your  child will allow you to.  (Obviously, the older the child, the easier it will be to explain the process.)
5.  Call your doctor.  Even if you can’t see any more sand, there could still be some smaller grains in there – and the longer the sand is in there, the greater the chance of serious injury to the eye.  The co-pay is worth the peace of mind!

Thankfully, Cragbaby’s situation ended up being more of a minor inconvenience than a genuine emergency, but it could have easily been a lot more serious.  It’s certainly opened my eyes (no pun intended) to safety when it comes to sand/dirt/etc.  Has anyone else had any similar experiences with eyes and things that shouldn’t be in there?  If so, I’d love to hear ’em!



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“Not all who wander are lost.” —JRR TOLKIEN