Sophie Ezra’s Guest List: Accidents Do Happen.



Kids hurt themselves. It’s a fact of life. One that is utterly unavoidable. Mostly they are minor bumps and bruises, but once in while they do something more serious. Something that makes your blood run cold.

With both mine it was them getting hold of dangerous substances; Bertie squirted a liquid tab in his eye and Woody ate a fire lighter. They turned out to be fine. But I’ll never forget those horrendous hours in the hospital.

Here Sophie aks @todayIprimed shares her experience of her daughter’s accident and what it’s taught her about resilience.

  •  Accidents happen.

  • Knocking a glass of red wine over an impossibly white tablecloth.

  • Dropping your phone, which was in your back pocket, down the loo.

  • Reversing into the parked car behind you, somehow not hearing the parking sensors as they beep repeatedly.

  • I’ve done them all – and the last one, maybe a fair few times (I’ll use this opportunity to apologise if it’s ever been you behind me).

  • When it comes to kids, they happen with even greater frequency. Paint spilt all over the sofa. Dinner dropped on the floor. Indoor sports gone awry. No doubt you’ve seen them all.

  • Let’s ignore the messy ones for a minute here. Because the fact is, accidents can sometimes be more serious.

  • A fall off a scooter.

  • A play fight gone wrong.

  • Even a roll off the changing table. You may have been there, too. And if you have, you’ll know that accidents can be frightening.

  • I know I’ve been there. But last week, while we were on holiday, we went to somewhere else entirely on the let’s call it, accident spectrum. I can only describe it as the most traumatic thing I’ve ever witnessed.

  •  It was Friday night. As a Jewish family, we traditionally light two candles to welcome the Sabbath. We do this every single week.

  • I want to tell you how what happened, happened. But it’s difficult. Let me try. Candles. Fire. My three-year-old.

  • Her hair. Her face. 

  • I’ve replayed the incident in my mind around 10,000 times. I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever stop.

  • What could we have done to prevent it? We put the candles high up deliberately so they were away from the kids. 

  • It was her hair that initially caught fire. Should I have cut the front shorter?

  •  I didn’t see her clamber up on the stool.

  • What was I doing?

  • Why didn’t I see?

  • I can’t tell you how many different questions like this ran and are still running through my mind.

  • But the truth is, there was nothing we could have done. Accidents happen. And I have to accept this. As parents, we are quick to blame ourselves. But we can’t and it is how we handle the aftermath that really counts.

  • My husband put the fire out. With his own hands. He will hate me writing this but he was a hero. He was so calm and collected. He just knew what to do. 

  • If we hadn’t kept her in the shower with cool water running on her face for 15 minutes afterwards, it could have been so much worse.

  • We flew straight home the next morning. That flight felt like an eternity. At times I struggled to catch my breath. Whenever I closed my eyes, all I could see was my husband holding her, the flames in her hair. 

  • But my little girl, she was incredible. And she has been since. Not one complaint of pain. No crying as I’ve cleaned her face each day. No whingeing whatsoever (and bless her, she can be excellent at whingeing).  unnamed-4

  • She completely understands what has happened and is fine to talk about it. If you ask her, she’ll tell you herself: a naughty candle burned her cheek. Her cheek is red. But it will get better soon.

  • Which leads me to the NHS. How blessed were we to be able to rush into Chelsea and Westminster Hospital’s paediatric burns unit and see a number of phenomenal doctors and nurses – the best of the best for no cost? I don’t have the words. 

  • So what can I take from this? Is there something – anything – to be learned

  • First and foremost, make sure you know what to do in a crisis. Get yourself some First Aid knowledge.

  • You never think you’ll be faced with something like this  – and I sincerely hope you never will be – but you might. And if you are, and you know what to do, your actions could make all the difference. 

  • Always be grateful. Thankfully, the doctors are confident she will make a full recovery over the next few weeks. I have trouble believing it but I know I need to put my trust in them. And the fact remains, it really could have been so much worse.

  • You’ll keep on asking yourself those same questions – why didn’t I see? What could I have done? How, HOW did this happen? You’ll have to accept that you will carry on doing this for quite some time. For how long? I simply don’t know yet.

  • People are kind. They truly are. The messages of support, the knocks on the door, the offers to babysit my little one, to make us meals and to just to call to talk at any time, have been so appreciated. 

  • If you can’t sleep because of flashbacks, a low dose of Valium is very helpful!

  • It’s ok to be sad. And it’s ok to feel ok. You might feel fine one minute and then as if your breath has been knocked out of you the next. It hasn’t been long since it all happened, but I’ve been told this is normal, whatever normal means.

  • If you feel you want to talk to someone other than friends and family about it – someone professional – then you must. This is a trauma and you are a parent. You need to look after yourself so that you can continue to look after your family.

  • Learn from your kids. As parents, we teach them so much – counting, reading, sharing and let’s not forget potty training. But there is also so much we can learn from them. It is Tamara’s bravery, her resilience, her openness and unstoppable laughter that has kept me going. I have never ever been a prouder mum.


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  • Reply Bethan August 13, 2017 at 8:30 am

    This happened to me as a child. My parents weren’t there at the time. I took it as just anothing thing that happened, a funny story about the time I went up in flames (and why I have patches of hair that will never regrow beyond fuzz, it’s cool, you can’t see them). However, this has made me realise what it must’ve felt like for my parents, for my friends mum who witnessed it. New perspective.

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