The kids had one of those odd days off from school for teacher training. We live in Florida near the beaches and I thought this would be a great day for us to spend quality time at the beach.
I dutifully packed 45 SPF sun block, Band-Aids, Antibiotic Cream, extra water for wounds that may occur, bug spray, allergy spray for any pesky bug bites and we were off. I was prepared for anything that could possibly happen at the beach.
At least I thought I was.
What I wasn’t prepared for was getting stung by a stingray!
I was walking (when I should have been shuffling my feet) in ankle deep water with my 4 yr old daughter when it felt like a crab pinched my big toe. I stumbled out of the water to my beautifully appointed spot on the beach and immediately poured some water on it to check out the damage. ( Click here to learn more about stingrays in Florida and about the stingray shuffle)
It was just a small wound on my big toe with a small but steady stream of blood coming out. While it was small the pain pulsating through out my foot was unbearable!!
I would like to say that I was strong and a great example of strength in front of my kids, but I was not. In stead of praying for God to help me and take away this pain, I was playing out the scenes in movies that we parents try to avoid our children from seeing or hearing. They heard it all! Bless their hearts they just stood there staring at me at a loss of what to do and scared. They had never seen me this way, but then again, I hadn’t seen me this way before either.
After I figured out it wasn’t a simple pinch from a crab I called my husband and then 911.
Here is where some lessons came in to play.
#1 KNOW WHERE YOU ARE! I had no idea what the name of the street we were located off of as this particular beach has many access streets. So when 911 asked my location all I could do was tell them the beach name. There were no notable landmarks around me. I panicked a little bit. Then I noticed a sign by the boardwalk. It said “Public Access on 20th Ave”. I had not noticed the sign before that, but boy I was so happy to see it!
So when you arrive some where take note of your location.
#2 Teach your kids all their personal information and yours! I was having a pretty difficult time talking due to the pain. One of the possible side affects from the sting could have been an allergic reaction or shock which would make me useless.
#3 Before you leave, think about possible emergency contacts that could come pick up your kids if there is a problem. They should know who to call.
Here is what happened.
My 7 yr old and 4 yr old followed my directions and packed up our belongings. The seven year old who is a wise old soul and an amazing care giver, said “mom, can I please go up to the walk way and wave them in so they know where you are?” Absolutely! He and his sister led the paramedics to me.
When 911 arrived and they started asking all of my personal information, my son stood and listened. What was incredibly comforting for me was knowing that if I couldn’t physically answer these questions, I knew that he could. This moment let me know that I had prepared him not only to take care of himself in an emergency, but that also included me, his father or even his sister.
I had never considered this. It was always about keeping him safe.
My husband pulled up as the paramedics were helping the kids and I off the beach. We passed on the ambulance ride and drove to the closest hospital. I was the fourth stingray victim that day and another one came in while I was there! I tell you this to make sure to check out the link above on stingrays if you live in Florida or are planing to visit our beautiful beaches soon!
Click here to get started on emergency information your kids should know. There are thousands of sites with suggestions, so make sure you do your own research.
They could not only be saving their lives, they could also save yours!
I have heard of stories where kids have saved a parent, if you have a story please share your experience below in comments!