After playing outside, a mom thought her little boy had gotten stung by a wasp. Then, she took a closer look, noticed his body turning blue, and frantically called for help.
Elisabeth Nordgarden is the mother of a rambunctious little boy named Kristoffer. Like other kids his age, the typical 3-year-old boy loves being outdoors. From picnics to games, kids simply love to be outside, where they can run and play without a care in the world. However, there can be danger lurking in your own backyard, and although we want our kids to have the freedom to be carefree, we must know the threats they could stumble across.
As 3-year-old Kristoffer Nordgarden played outside one warm day, his mother Elisabeth learned this lesson the hard way. Sadly, it was the toddler who painfully paid the price when he experienced first-hand that being barefoot while outdoors comes with its fair share of risks — some that can even be fatal.
There’s always the risk of stepping on something sharp or even the occasional wildlife, such as a wasp or bee. So, when her son came running to her, tears streaming down his face, Elisabeth didn’t think it would be anything too serious initially. She never imagined that she was about to face one of the most dramatic events that she had ever experienced.
She and her boys were visiting family, Elisabeth told NRK, recalling the day her life was turned upside down. “Then, Kristoffer began to cry a little and climbed onto my lap. We thought he had been stung by a wasp or scratched himself on a branch,” she explained. He had stepped on something alright, and it was wildlife too — but it was far worse than a wasp. She’d soon realize he hadn’t been stung, but rather, bitten.
Fifteen minutes after a crying Kristoffer crawled onto his mother’s lap, his foot began to swell and turn blue. That’s when Elisabeth quickly called emergency services. “The ambulance and helicopter arrived quickly. They kept saying it was a viper snake bite, and we were transported to a hospital,” Elisabeth relayed.
Kristoffer was promptly given antivenom and initially began to show signs of improvement, but then, he suddenly took a turn for the worst. He had begun to bleed internally from his intestines, and what started as some bruising on his foot and ankle was about to spread to the rest of his body as practically all of him turned blue and appeared bruised.
When doctors measured Kristoffer’s blood volume, it was less than half of what it should have been, and he had quickly lost weight, going from 44 pounds down to 33. He was in a fight for his life, all because of a simple mistake. It took nearly two weeks of being hospitalized, but thankfully, Kristoffer was eventually well enough to go home.
He survived, but his battle was extremely difficult, as the picture below shows. Now, his story is serving as a warning for others. While the response to the viper’s bite can vary, children typically are most vulnerable and at risk for deadly reactions. This goes for all venomous snakes, not just vipers, so know which ones are prevalent where you live.
In addition, all snakes are much more active during warmer weather when more people are also out in nature. Therefore, there’s a greater chance of encountering one. So, it’s important to wear shoes outside, especially for kids who are playing and not necessarily watching where they are walking.
This is definitely something that Elisabeth now pays closer attention to as a parent and requires of her children. Although Kristoffer has taken the horrific experience well, playing outside shortly after returning home, Elisabeth has vowed to be much more cautious. “I have much more respect for vipers now, and I will ensure that my kids wear boots when they go out in areas with high grass in the future,” she said.
Prevention is the best way to ensure your own wellbeing as well as that of your loved ones. Know that during cooler months, snakes tend to hide more, but when it’s warm, they could be anywhere, enjoying the sun’s rays just like you. So, it doesn’t hurt to take a quick look around the yard before letting the kids run loose.
Remember, not only should we be respectful of wild animals, we must also be cautious of them. Kristoffer is lucky since this could have ended much differently. Now, others can learn from this common mistake that we all make. No one wants to lose a child simply because they didn’t feel like fighting with them to put their shoes on. You never know what’s in the grass. Don’t find out the hard way.