A child in the UK is recovering after an incident involving a water bottle landed her in the hospital. Angel Watkins, 5, was taking a sip from a drink her mom made when her tongue became stuck in the water bottle. What followed was a traumatic experience that neither mother nor daughter is likely to forget.
Watkins’ mother, 23-year-old Kirsty Williams, had bought the brand new water bottle for her daughter as a reward for earning a Star of the Week award in her homeschool class.
“This was just a normal water bottle,” Williams told press. “It had a normal drinking hole. It’s not something you’d think would happen.”
At first, William’s gift was a hit with Watkins.
“She loved the bottle because she got to decorate it,” the mom said. “Since she’d got it, she’d been drinking out of it all the time.”
However, trouble arose on the morning of Saturday, February 13, as Williams, a personal trainer, was teaching a Zoom session.
“I made her a drink and she’d gone to watch TV while I was teaching my class,” Williams said. Minutes later, Watkins came to her mother with her tongue stuck firmly into the bottle’s drinking hole.
“At first I was like, ‘It’s alright, stop being silly. Take your tongue out,” said Williams. “Then I realized it wasn’t coming out.”
After attempts to separate Watkins’ tongue from the bottle failed, the desperate mom called emergency services, who told her to bring her daughter to the hospital immediately.
“At [the hospital], she wouldn’t let anyone touch her,” the mother recalled. “She was so scared, bless her.”
Medical workers attempted to bring down the swelling of Watkins’ tongue with ice, but to no avail. “It was getting blue on the ends,” Williams said.
Out of options, doctors decided to send Watkins to a team of nose and throat specialists at a different hospital. However, that team came upon challenges of their own in trying to remove the plastic lid.
“They were going to try and numb it and slide it off, if they could bring the swelling down, but Angel was so distressed and panicking,” said Williams.
Ultimately, doctors decided to put Watkins to sleep before taking her into surgery, where a bone surgeon spent 15 minutes carefully sawing the lid off the child’s tongue.
“Luckily it went really smoothly,” Williams said. “They kept her overnight to keep an eye on her and make sure her tongue didn’t swell up again.”
Doctors released the Watkins from the hospital the following day. However, her ordeal left her unable to eat anything but ice cream and jelly for the next two days.
“Her tongue has gone down now,” Williams has since reported. “She had a bit of a lisp for a few days because her tongues was still quite swollen, but it’s gone back to normal now.”
While Watkins ultimately recovered from her experience, Williams still contacted Purple Ladybug, the bottle’s manufacturer, to alert them to the potential danger.
“The company have been really good. They’re looking into making the product safer and said they have children themselves so they are very concerned,” she said. “They gave me a refund straight away and offered to send out little craft things.”
A company spokesperson has since acknowledged Watkins’ situation while assuring it would re-evaluate its products.
“We have temporarily halted sales of our water bottles while we investigate what happened,” the spokesperson said. “We are committed to ensuring they are as safe as possible for children.”