A mum-of-two feared her toddler’s skull had been cracked and a ‘hole had gone deep, affecting her brain’ after her daughter was injured while sliding.
Ava Wilkinson, from Preston, Lancashire, was left with a gaping hole in her forehead when a plastic slide in her back garden toppled over, and she smashed her skull on a paving slab.
Her mother, Laura Cook, 29, wants to warn other parents of the frightening incident, to let them know of the dangers of letting their youngsters play on plastic slides on an uneven surface.
Above: Brave toddler Ava Wilkinson with her mum, Laura Cook. The mother-of-two has praised paramedics and NHS staff for their speedy response
This photo shows the plastic slide that two-year-old Ava was playing on at home, and encircled is the paving slab that she struck her head upon
She said that she feared for her daughter’s life after seeing pools of blood and a massive hole in her forehead that left the toddler’s skull exposed.
The stay-at-home mum explained that on Monday, July 23, ‘Ava’s dad, Darren, was cutting the grass and had moved all the toys, including the slide, onto the patio.
‘There were some uneven paving slabs on patio and when Ava got onto the slide it toppled over and she smashed her head on the stones.
‘I just heard this almighty scream. Darren reached her first and there was blood everywhere.
Ava’s parents had to wrap a towel around her head to stem the blood, while waiting for paramedics. She was taken by air ambulance to hospital to have her forehead stitched
‘He was crying his eyes out and I started to panic but I didn’t want to get upset in front of Ava.
‘It all happened at once and I didn’t know what to do. You could see her skull through the hole in her head and I knew it was bad.
‘We wrapped a tea towel around her head to try and stop the blood but she started getting drowsy.
‘I tried to keep her awake because I knew if she lost consciousness then it would be difficult to wake her up.
‘My worst fear was that her skull had cracked and the hole had gone deeper, affecting her brain.’
Ava’s dad, Darren Wilkinson, 40, a furniture up-cycler, immediately phoned an ambulance and within 15 minutes paramedics arrived at their home to assess the little girl’s injury.
Deciding that the hole was too big to treat at the scene, paramedics called the North West Air Ambulance Service to take Ava to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, some 40 miles away.
Laura said that if it was not for the quick responses of the paramedics, her daughter could have been left with brain damage, or worse.
Doctors took Ava in for surgery the following morning (Tuesday), where she was given general anaesthetic so they could operate.
In Alder Hey: Ava recovering after her operation at hospital. Doctors said she may need cosmetic surgery at a later stage
Luckily, the wound only required stitches but staff at the Liverpool hospital said the two-year-old would be left with a huge scar which may need cosmetic surgery when she is older.
Ava was allowed to go home on Tuesday afternoon and Laura said her daughter is now on the mend.
The mum said: ‘The staff in the helicopter were brilliant. They kept Ava awake all the way to the hospital by playing with her and letting her mess around with their visors in order to distract her from the pain.
‘And when we got to Alder Hey there were a team of nurses and doctors waiting for us. They rushed Ava into the emergency room straight away.
Back at home: Ava with her dad Darren Wilkinson. The slide has now been moved on to grass at the family’s home
‘Had it not been for the quick reactions of all the NHS staff involved I dread to think what would have happened to Ava.
‘We are so lucky in this country to have the NHS – other countries don’t have the resources available to them that we have.
‘Ava’s been so brave throughout all of this and I’m so thankful for how the NHS staff helped her. They were brilliant from start-to-finish, I honestly can’t thank them enough.’