Every parent worries. Moms and dads love their children more than life itself, and the world we live in is a scary place. It’s no wonder that parents feel extreme pressure to keep their treasured tots safe. The billion things that could possibly go wrong in a child’s life may have parents up at night, tossing, turning and stressing about the dangers that lurk seemingly around every corner. Accidents happen. Tragedy often strikes without warning, and it isn’t uncommon for parents to get major anxiety when they see some of the photos circulating online of instances in which things went very, very wrong for a child.
Photos of children encountering wild animals, falling from moving vehicles and becoming trapped underneath fallen furniture are enough to give any parent a panic attack. Pictures such as these remind parents that it is, in fact, possible for their worst nightmares to become realities. It’s important for moms and dads to remember that worst case scenarios are rare, and stressing will do nothing but give them ulcers and premature grey hairs.
Parents should be aware of the dangerous possibilities out there, and be vigilant in order to keep their little ones out of harm’s way. They should also remember that the terrible things they fear most will rarely, if ever, actually happen. The following 15 photos depict some of a parent’s very worst nightmares. Some of them are unbelievable, others are shocking and still others will make a mother or father’s blood run cold. All of them are must-sees.
15 Gorilla Cradles Toddler
In 1996, 3-year-old boy somehow fell into a gorilla exhibit at the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois. Binti, a female gorilla, cradled him in her arms and kept him safe until help arrived. The young child injured his head in the fall, in which he careened 18 feet and landed on the concrete at the bottom of the exhibit. Binti picked the boy up, held him close and eventually placed him near a door where zookeepers were able to grab him and get him to safety. His condition was critical at the time of his rescue, but he is thought to have since made a full recovery.
The exhibit housed 7 gorillas, and if Binti hadn't stepped in, the boy's fate may have been much different. Carrie Stewart, a witness of the incident, shared with reporters, "Another gorilla walked toward the boy, and she kind of turned around and walked away from the other gorillas and tried to be protective.''
This terrifying situation is every parent's worst nightmare, and was handled much better than a recent similar instance in which a 400 pound gorilla, Harambe, was shot and killed after a toddler fell into his enclosure at a Cincinnati, Ohio zoo.
14 Playroom Explosion
A baby monitor recently caught a terrifying incident in a Bellingham, Washington home. The photo above shows a boiler exploding in the playroom just minutes after the family's four-year-old, Jamisen, had exited the area. Anne-Marie Faiola, the boy's mother, is beyond grateful that her son wasn't still in the room at the time of the freak accident. Footage of the incident shows a wall collapsing and the room filling quickly with thick, white smoke.
Faiola was not at home at the time and was informed of the explosion by her nanny as she drove home from work. Immediately after the blast, the children were evacuated. Neither Jamisen nor his younger sister, Lily, were harmed in the accident. Faiola was told by a firefighter that if anyone had attempted to cook at the time of the explosion, the house would have been "leveled."
The mother-of-two later shared on her blog, "Thankfully, instead of blowing up like a rocket ship, the force of the blast took it sideways into our storage area, and not directly up into Lily’s crib--her room is directly above the boiler. We’re focusing on that and the feelings of thankfulness, and how lucky we are, rather than the dull monotony of all the next steps. We are safe. Our house can be fixed."
13 Girl Stolen From Her Mother
For many parents, the worst thing they can ever imagine happening is a stranger stealing their child. The above photo is a still shot of surveillance footage taken from a Victorville, California electronics store. It's difficult to see, but if one looks closely, a little girl is being pulled from the store by a man in the top left-hand corner of the shot.
The four-year-old girl was allegedly playing with a candy machine near the door when a man reached in, grabbed her arm, and roughly pulled her out of the store. The child's mother saw the whole thing and rushed from the store to stop the assailant. The store's owner, Miguel Macia, told CBS News, “[The mother] was just screaming, crying. She couldn’t believe it."
Amazingly, the girl was able to wriggle free from her captor and flee to the safety of her mother's arms. Craig Battles was working at a barber shop next door at the time of the incident. He told reporters, “She was crying. She wasn’t screaming. She was really terrified. We all ran around there to see what was going on.” Witnesses shared that the suspect responded to the girl's escape by sitting down in the middle of the road and laughing. He then attempted to run off, but bystanders were able to detain him until police arrived and took him into custody.
12 Child Falls Into Oncoming Traffic
It is undoubtedly the worst nightmare of many moms and dads to look on helplessly as their child is placed in grave danger. The screenshot above was taken from a horrifying video that depicts an infant very narrowly escaping death after falling from a moving vehicle right into oncoming traffic. The incident took place in Jieyang, southern China. It is nothing short of a miracle that the child survived the ordeal.
A mother was riding a tricycle vehicle with her baby when a "gentle" left turn caused the child to fall, landing face-down right in the path of oncoming traffic. The baby avoided certain death when a silver sedan slammed on the breaks in the nick of time, however, the poor child's arm and head were hit by the vehicle, causing injury.
According to China’s People’s Daily, the young child was rushed to a nearby medical facility where the various injuries sustained in the accident were treated. It's likely the mother of this baby will hold on to her tightly for the rest of her life.
11 Strangled By The Crib
The above photo is a screenshot of chilling footage that was captured by a baby monitor, and, luckily seen by the parents of the child before it was too late. The baby in the photo somehow managed to climb up the side of her crib and slide into the opening between the top bar and the wall of the crib. She then fell and became trapped, hanging by her neck, which cut off her airway completely.
In a miraculous turn of events, the child's parents happened to glance at the monitor at just the right moment. They saw that their baby had gotten herself into a position that would lead to death in minutes if someone didn't intervene. They rushed into her room and were able to get her free before it was too late.
Unfortunately, stories like the aforementioned one don't always have happy endings. Children often become precariously trapped in the cribs their parents have trusted will keep them safe. It's recommended that parents regularly check for recalls when deciding where their child will sleep. Far too many deaths have been the result of a baby somehow becoming trapped at the wrong angle inside of his or her crib.
10 Alligator Takes Toddler
The photo above shows men combing the beach in search of a 2-year-old boy who went missing after he was taken from the shores of Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa by an alligator. Tragically, his father saw the whole thing happen. He attempted to fight off the aquatic reptile and free his son, but his efforts were unsuccessful.
The young child was playing near the water at the Seven Seas Lagoon when a gator estimated to be between four and seven feet long emerged from the water and attacked the boy. Soon after the incident, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings told reporters, “As a father, a grandfather, we’re going to hope for the best in these circumstances, but based on my 35 years of law enforcement experience, we know we have some challenges ahead of us."
Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Wahler stated, “Everyone here at the Walt Disney World Resort is devastated by this tragic accident. Our thoughts are with the family. We are helping the family and doing everything we can to assist law enforcement.”
9 Dad To The Rescue
Most parents claim that they would put themselves in harm's way if it meant they would be able to save their child from danger, but hope they will never have to prove it. One father, Shaun Cunningham, did so with flying colors when he saved his 9-year-old son, Landon, from a rogue iron bat at the boy's first Major League baseball game.
The young boy was focused on his phone during a spring training game between the Pirates and the Braves when outfielder for Pittsburgh, Danny Ortiz, accidentally flung the bat he was swinging into the stunned crowd behind first base. The bat was on a trajectory straight for little Landon's face, but, thanks to the heroic efforts of his father, he walked away from the incident unscathed.
Shaun shared on the Today show, "I didn't have a lot of time to think. Once I realized it was headed for my son, I just did anything I could to block it and deflect it."
Landon added, "I looked up because my dad said something, but I didn't look up in time and he put out his wrist to block it. My first baseball game was amazing."
8 Nanny Nightmare
Every parent fears that when they leave their child with a babysitter, the care their child receives will be less-than what is expected. Many moms and dads have resorted to installing hidden cameras in their homes to ensure things are going well when they are away.
The above photo is a screenshot of footage caught on a hidden nanny cam. A young girl's sitter was caught red-handed hitting the child because she wouldn't eat her food. Of course, the woman was fired right away, and charges were pressed against her, but the damage done to the child is something that isn't undone just because a horrid caregiver is no longer in the picture.
Luckily, children are resilient, and are able to overcome traumatic things that happen in their lives. Even so, trust issues and post-traumatic stress may result when a child is the victim of an abusive babysitter. We can only hope that the above footage will prevent the woman in question from ever hurting a child again.
7 What Car Seat?
The picture above is a screenshot of dashcam footage captured in China. The child fell from a moving vehicle into heavy traffic and narrowly escaped being hit. It is apparent from the brake lights in the photo that the driver stopped as soon as the child fell from the car. This scenario is better than a few other documented cases in China in which children fell from moving vehicles without the driver or other passengers in the car even realizing they were gone.
A 2o14 study concluded that, in China, only 22 of every 3,333 children in the country are secured in child safety seats when riding in cars. This is approximately .6 percent of all little ones in the country. Yikes.
No parent wants to imagine their child left in the middle of the road as the vehicle they were riding in speeds away from them. We're glad the child pictured above made it out of the accident alive, and hope photos such as this one will increase the use of child safety seats by Chinese parents.
6 Trapped Toddler
A 2-year-old boy in Utah was dubbed a hero after he freed his twin brother from being trapped underneath a fallen 115 pound dresser. The two boys, Brock and Bowdy Shoff, were playing in their room when the accident occurred, and the entire thing was captured on a surveillance camera that had been set up inside of the twins' room.
In the footage, the boys are first seen opening the drawers of the dresser and attempting to climb it. Soon after they begin to climb, the dresser falls to the floor, pinning Brock underneath. After a lot of effort, Bowdy is able to move the piece of furniture off of his brother. Miraculously, neither boy was seriously injured.
Following the incident, their mother, Kayli Shoff, told Time magazine, “I think it’s a complete miracle, honestly. It comes down on his head really hard. Not even a little scratch or a bruise. We were lucky.” She continued, “It’s really hard to watch. I just kind of felt ashamed and embarrassed as a parent. I could have prevented this." The dresser was not secured to the wall at the time of the accident, and the boys' parents decided to share the video in the hopes it would encourage other parents to follow safety protocols when child-proofing their homes.
5 Barbaric Babysitter
The above photo is just one image captured from the disturbing footage parents obtained of their special needs child's caregiver abusing him. The young boy, four-year-old Luke Field, began showing signs that something wasn't right, alerting his parents to the fact that something may be off with his nanny.
Their instincts were right. A hidden camera caught the nanny, Lillian D. White, forcefully pulling the boy across the floor of his living room and yelling, “You little s**t, this is what we’re going to do. We’re doing it my way.” The footage also shows White sitting on little Luke's head while she changes his diaper.
White has been arrested and faces charges of second-degree criminal abuse. Once again, it's good that the parents in the situation were alerted to the fact that something wasn't right, but awful that an innocent child ever had to be subjected to abuse at the hands of an adult he and his parents should have been able to trust.
4 Bounce House Caught In Tornado
A Memorial Day celebration on Fort Lauderdale Beach quickly turned into every parent's worst nightmare when a bounce house was flung high into the air by a waterspout that turned into a tornado when it hit land. Several children were playing inside of the inflatable house when it was suddenly launched into the sky.
One of the children, five-year-old Shadaja Bryant, who broke her arm during the incident, shared afterwards, "I was thinking I was about to die. I was in the bounce house and then it flew while I was in there, then I fell in the dirt." Her father added, "I was crying all the way there and from the time I saw the bounce house to the hospital I was crying, I was shaken real bad. I thought it was safe."
A witness of the strange and terrifying event recalled, "Everyone was screaming, 'Oh my God, Oh my God.' And then everyone started to run. It was coming from in the water and then it was coming to where we were sitting."
3 Garbage Man Saves Infant In Runaway Stroller
Jeff Blackburn, a Seattle garbage truck driver, is pictured above right before his heroic efforts turned a tragedy into a heartwarming tale. He was busy driving his route when a runaway stroller with an infant inside of it, headed for a busy intersection, crossed in front of his truck.
How did the stroller get there? Apparently, a mother was jogging with her baby when she lost her hold on the stroller. Blackburn sprung into action. He honked his horn, alerting an approaching Fedex truck at the intersection and causing it to stop before colliding with the child.
Blackburn then drove his large truck right into the middle of the road in an attempt to block traffic. He scrambled out of vehicle, sprinted over to the baby, and stopped the stroller. When he reached the child, he reported the 9-month-old was smiling, apparently relishing in his short-lived joy ride. According to Blackburn, he isn't a hero, and was “just in the right place at the right time.” The baby's mother may beg to differ.
2 Boy Caught In Escalator
The photo above is of a 7-year-old boy who had to have his toes amputated after his foot became stuck in an escalator at the mall. The child was Christmas shopping with his family at a Pennsylvania mall the day of the accident. The boy's parents are suing the mall due to the trauma and disfigurement the incident has inflicted upon their child.
The suit claims the boy, who remains unnamed due to his young age, was riding the escalator with his mother, Maria Jimenez. Suddenly she heard "piercing screams" coming from her son. The suit continues that his "right foot began to be dragged into a widening gap between the step he was standing on and the right side skirt panel."
The injuries the boy sustained in the accident made it necessary to amputate the toes on one of his feet. Yet another example of every parent's worst nightmare coming true.
1 Trapped In A Revolving Door
Revolving doors may seem safe, but parents should always watch their little ones when entering or exiting said doors. A young girl in China somehow got her ankle stuck under the bottom of a revolving door located at the entrance of an office building.
The photo above depicts rescue workers attempting to free the girl with an electronic wedge device. It was used to lift the bottom of the door upwards, and, eventually, free the child's foot. The girl escaped the ordeal with a bruise mark on her ankle, and is expected to make a full recovery. She seemed relatively calm throughout the entire incident, hopefully meaning she was not in terrible pain as she waited for help to arrive.
Feeling worried? The truth is, it's futile for parents to worry their lives away wondering what dangers may come to their precious little ones. Moms and dads should enjoy their babies, be aware of the risks involved in various activities and remember that the odds of nothing bad happening are ever in their favor.