New Boston, NH – On January 6, 20-month-old Olivia Smith fell, piercing a wooden orange coloring pencil through the corner of her right orbital cavity, just missing the optic nerve and cerebral arteries. The freak accident diagonally lodged the pencil four to five inches into the child’s brain, through to the back of her skull behind her left ear.
Olivia was rushed to the hospital. She was then flown to Boston Children’s Hospital, where a team managed to remove the pencil without surgery. Reports indicate the child suffered a stroke and temporary paralysis while being treated for her injury.
Olivia’s mother, 30-year-old Susie Smith, initially assumed her daughter had simply fallen while coloring, reports WHDH. When she picked up her daughter, Susie observed two inches of the coloring stick protruding from the child’s eye. Smith said:
“I thought the pencil had broken or something. I thought there was no way that whole pencil was through her head.”
Olivia is recovering well. Doctors assure the child can now see clearly. They consider her recovery a miracle. She is now running around and playing, seemingly unfazed by the accident.
Friends have set up a fund to help with the medical expenses: Olivia Cecelia Smith Benefit Fund (Citizens Bank), P.O. Box 351, Goffstown, New Hampshire 03045.
A similar accident happened in July 2012, when 2-year-old Wren Bowell tripped over a stair-gate, driving the pencil in her hand into her eye and brain. In Wren’s case, she was subject to a four hour surgery which required excising a portion of her skull to remove it. Wren has since fully recovered.
Child safety advocates suggest using alternatives to hard wooden colored pencils for toddlers, like crayons. Young children are new to controlled ambulatory movement. Therefore, the likelihood of them slipping or losing balance and falling is frequent.
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