Biologically, we’re wired to adore babies. They smell terrific, their gummy smiles are delightful, and they’re a lot of fun to shop for. But not all infants subscribe to a peaceful philosophy. Some tiny terrors can wind up lashing out physically, causing harm to their adult handlers. Here are six proven ways poop-panted antagonists can inflict damage.
1. THE CORNEAL ABRASION
You wouldn’t think a baby’s tiny fingers could possibly pose any danger—but that foolish assumption could put your eyesight at risk. Babies tend to have a fascination with glasses, reaching for corrective lenses out of curiosity; other times, their arms can spasmodically shoot out into the nearest soft tissue. Parental reflexes are often too slow to avoid a direct hit to the eye, causing corneal abrasions and even subconjunctival hemorrhages. One mother, Kara Kastan, told The New York Times in 2012 that she was jabbed in the eye by her son twice. She had to wear an eyepatch. The baby did not care.
2. THE HEAD BUTT
Though slight of frame, babies wield an incredibly powerful cranium, their solid skulls able to crash into unsuspecting noses or teeth with substantial force. Penny Blatt, wife of New York Times columnist David Wallis, had her nose broken in two places by their son. Pediatricians believe head butts can be a sign of frustration when infants are unable to verbalize their feelings.
3. THE EARRING GRAB
What could be more seductive to a baby than a shiny, dangling earring just inches from its grasp? New York City plastic surgeon Norman Day claims he's seen several patients whose earlobes have been ripped in half after an infant has clamped down on jewelry and tugged. Other surgeons report similar cases, particularly when the mother is wearing hoop earrings.
4. AGGRESSIVE PINCHING
A baby should always be handled as though you were holding a live lobster: babies can exert significant pinching power that’s often directed at the neck of their guardian. A baby that grabs a flap of skin and tugs can create a sunburn-like irritation. Experts say babies are just being curious and want to see how you react to the assault. If you exaggerate and jump back, it might amuse—and encourage—the roughhousing. Instead, gently release their grip from your Adam’s apple and tell them it hurts.
5. PROVOKING AN ALLERGIC REACTION
UK mother Joanne Mackie made news in 2009 when it was reported that she had an allergic reaction to her own son, James, breaking out in blisters upon contact. It was the result of a rare autoimmune disease, oemphigoid gestationis, that Mackie developed while carrying James. After a course of steroids, the reaction—which only affects one in 50,000 women—subsided.
6. THE PROJECTILE
As a baby begins to flirt with toddlerhood at the age of two, their growing ability to grasp objects can sometimes result in toys going airborne. Sarah Rosengarten was watching her son, Carter, play with Matchbox cars when he decided to test his pitching skills: the car crashed into Sarah’s jaw, resulting in a hairline fracture.
For once, a baby’s casual disregard for the safety of others had a benefit: Sarah’s CT scan detected a tumor that led to a diagnosis of kidney failure. She successfully received a transplant.
All images courtesy of iStock.