Here Hayley Skye Smith, 21, tells the story in her owns world.
Rifling through the clothes rack, I was on the hunt for a coat for my girl, Amaia.
At 20 months, my independent girl loved walking on her own two feet, so I’d left the pram at home.
She wouldn’t sit in the trolley either, so it was lucky my cousin, Kyra, 18, and my sister, Tohri, 23, were at Kmart with me.
While I searched for Amaia’s size, they could help keep an eye on my girl.
Suddenly, Amaia spotted a rack of headbands and colourful kids’ jewellery.
As she toddled over, Tohri and Kyra were right beside her.
‘Do you want that necklace?’ I heard Auntie Tohri ask Amaia.
Then, out of the blue, Amaia started sobbing!
<Maybe she’s bumped into something,> I thought, racing over.
‘What’s wrong?’ I asked, picking up my baby girl.
To my horror, her right eye was full of blood and it poured from her nose.
‘She was leaning forward to look at the jewellery and the metal prong on the end of the rack went into her eye!’ Tohri said.
Cradling Amaia in my arms, I ran over to a young shop assistant a few metres away.
‘Please call an ambulance!’ I cried.
As he called for help, Amaia suddenly stopped crying and went floppy.
‘Amaia?’ I cried.
But, terrifyingly, she closed her eyes and wouldn’t respond.
My heart sank.
<Did the prong pierce her brain?> I panicked, traumatised.
Then Amaia started crying again and another shopper rushed over.
‘I’m an emergency nurse,’ she said, examining Amaia’s eye.
‘I don’t want her to be blind!’ I sobbed, terrified.
‘She’s not blind,’ the nurse assured me, but, in shock, I didn’t know what to believe.
One of the lovely shop assistants brought a wet cloth to wipe Amaia’s eye but my scared baby wouldn’t let anyone touch her.
‘Everything’s going to be okay,’ I soothed her.
Thankfully, an ambulance arrived and rushed us to hospital.
There, Amaia was wrapped in a blanket and, heartbreakingly, she had to be held down so the damage could be gauged.
‘The metal prong went under her eyelid and scratched it, but there won’t be any lasting damage,’ the doctor said.
Still, it was a near miss.
‘If it had gone any lower, she could’ve lost her eye,’ he added.
‘Thank God,’ I said with relief.
A shopping trip turned disastrous for Hayley’s tot
Hayley Skye Smith, 21, South Grafton, NSW
I was so grateful it wasn’t worse.
For the next few days, Amaia’s swollen purple eye seeped bloody gunk.
Gradually, though, my girl’s beautiful blue peeper went back to normal.
Three months on, I want to warn other mums of the dangers lurking in the shops.
Amaia was lucky and I hope by sharing her story we can save another bub’s sight.
When asked about the incident, Kmart told that’s life! they, ‘take safety extremely seriously... we’ll look at whether there are any ways we can make the store safer and prevent an incident such as this happening to anyone else.’