I Almost Crushed My Son’s Fingers

iain-spring-2008My son just climbed out of his car seat and was playing outside. I was picking up old french fries or something from the car floor around his seat. I straighted up and started to close the car door when I felt a slight resistant; that’s when he yelled: my son’s fingers were caught in the door.

Fortunately, I didn’t slam the door shut (Christ, I shudder now thinking about it); I let go of the door and pulled his tiny fingers (he’s three years old) from the crack between the car’s body and door’s edge. He was wailing.

I’m a pretty calm guy; I don’t panic in dire situations and tend to keep a level head when an emergency arises. I point that out because that demeanor helps a LOT around upset children; you not panicking helps calm others down, eventually.

I looked at my son’s finger and saw a slight indentation where the door bent into them. Fuck.

I asked him to wiggle his fingers, which he did while streams of tears dripped on my shoulder.

I told him we’ll get a cold cloth to wrap around his fingers, which would help the pain. He nodded as we calmly walked into the house and methodically did the following, which I gave him a running commentary about as I was doing it:

  • Got a face cloth (“Now where are the face cloths?” I ask. “There, Daddy”)
  • Ran the water until it was ice cold (“Is that cold enough” as I have him touch the water)
  • Soaked the cloth
  • Squeezed the excessive water out (“That good enough?”)
  • Folded the cloth neatly, wrapped it around his fingers showing him how to hold it in place with his thumb.

“How’s it feel now?” I asked him.

“Better, Daddy. Thank you, Daddy.”

Now, I try to not to think about what could’ve happened as I lay in bed trying to get to sleep.

This parent stuff is gonna be the death of me.

14 Replies to “I Almost Crushed My Son’s Fingers”

  1. Good to hear he is okay.

    See, if I did that to Alexander and Michelle was around to see it, he would have been rushed into the hospital and x-rays and CAT scans and MRI would have been requested.

    He is getting pretty good at not crying when he injures himself now because he might get shipped to the hospital if he makes too much of a fuss about it. One day, he dropped something on his foot and he was hopping around yelling “Oh, F-word! oh F-word!” I laughed my ass off.

  2. I didn’t tell my parents about it: they’d freak out and they don’t need the worry.

    Caitlyn said “damn” casually the other day, which made me to a double-take as I haven’t heard her cuss yet, plus it was so casual. She said something like, “I can’t open that damn bottle, Dad” while we were sitting at the kitchen table. I know, “damn” is nothing. Was funny, though.

  3. A clarification about where his fingers were: I had the driver-side passenger car door open. He was outside to my left, on the other side of the open door facing the driver-side door, sticking his fingers in the gap where the passenger door fits into.

  4. Alexander and Michelle went with friends to see Speed Racer on the weekend and there was a scene where a kid gives the middle finger. Alexander knew that the middle finger means “fuck off” but the other kid didn’t. His friend asked him what it meant, and Michelle quickly interjected but that didn’t stop Alexander from saying, “I wasn’t going to tell him that it means the F-word.” I am sure when we are not around, he swears probably just as bad as I do.

  5. Jesus Jody we just spent two days letting our kids play in and around abandoned farm machinery and other assorted agricultural industrial implements, including electric fences, rusted out hulks of manure spreaders, tractors, abandoned vans, old tool sheds….don’t let the fingers in the door deprive you of sleep…he is fine…plus now he will have something to tell the thearpist…. in some form blaming you for all of his adult misforturnes…all tracing back to moment of the door…the car door that slammed shut in his youth…was in fact the closing of the door of all happiness for the rest of his life…

    sleep well

  6. It IS pretty nerve wracking when your own kids are involved. I’ve had a few situations with Garrett that I’ve had to work through. He ripped a finger nail off once, and another time he broke his arm pretty bad. His mother panics pretty good though. Any sight of blood and she loses it.

    As far as the swearing is concerned… my son is almost 17 now, so MY rule is that he mind his language around his mother. I’m kind of ok with the soft swearing like “shit”, “asshole”, or “piss”… I’d still gently chastise a “fuck” though, if I ever heard him say it.

  7. I still hope my kid doesn’t have brain damage from the 2 or 3 times he feel backwards onto the basement floor while learning to stand up against a table. he cracked his head pretty good before i could catch him! I think he learned from it though, and hasn’t done it since!

  8. My son Liam loves to be a big helper and assist me in closing the car door. Just last weekend he did almost the same thing, Jody, only he actually closed the door on his own fingers.

    Fortunately, he’s just turned 2 and can’t muster the oompff to close the door hard enough to latch it, so it really just put enough dull pressure on his little fingers to startle him and the waterworks began. And then the drama ensued as he re-enacted the whole sordid event so I’d know just how horrible it was for him. He’s gotten quite theatrical lately…

    Those big crocodile tears sure make ya feel guilty, don’t they?

  9. Jody – I did pretty much the same damn thing to my li’l buddy. As I was closing the door he stuck his hand back in the car to retrieve a toy and I caught his finger. It wasn’t serious but it sure could have been.

    After it happened I said over and over – “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. ” He just cried and said “That’s OK, Daddy” – It sure didn’t feel OK.

    Now I make sure he is several feet away from the car before I shut the door.

  10. My nasty here involved one of those step ladders that can be opened right up to make an extension ladder. We had it in extension ladder mode, and my 12 yr old daughter was carrying it. She fiddled with the catch, unlocked it, and the top half collapsed, scissoring down to meet the bottom half with my daughters fingers between the two sides. I think the top half jammed on the ground with about a foot to go before it was completely closed, which wonderfully left just enough space between the guillotining bits to compress and cut her hand, but not crunch any bones.

    She screamed and I had a heart in mouth experience like few others. Even days after, when she was wiggling all her fingers like nothing had happened, I still felt sick.

    Ain’t parenthood wonderful!

  11. Jezuz, what did I start? This is like reading CBC or CNN now with all these horror stories; but that’s okay. Let it out people! Let it out!

  12. Yeah well..huh..my kid got out of the car, I closed the door on his fingers, I opened the door he ran to the house where he got tangled in a ladder and squished his other hand and as he was hopping around he stumbled into the path of a steamroller and got a full body squish, as he went to get up he fell down a couple of times banging his head on the pavement…but hey he is okay…

    a nod to the scotsman skit from monty python….

  13. I must have had plenty of such incidents when I was kid. My hands and face and body are full scars. Though I can’t remember how I got any of them.

  14. Hi gotta admit-reading your story and others comments makes me feel less like an idoit. My son and I were studying with my classmates for an exam. I was standing at the metal door paying the pizza. In his little fingers went in between the door and as I’m tell the pizza guy thank you and closing the door. My baby’s fingers were crushed. I didn’t crush just any fingers, these are his comforting finger sucking fingers (ring and middle fingers). We rushed off to the ER and thankfully the plastic surgeon told me he was going to be fine, we didn’t break any bones but he could end up with his tips being lost.
    I think my husband is going to freak out when he hear’s the news, but all in all my son is doing better!

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