A Georgia mom is warning other parents this week about the importance of educating kids on the dangers of wild snakes after her 5-year-old daughter was bitten three times by a timber rattlesnake.
Cyndi Spell says her daughter Maisy was playing in the backyard at her dad’s house on Friday, June 18th, when she noticed her cat had a snake cornered. When Maisy approached her cat, the snake–which turned out to be a venomous rattle snake–bit her three times on the leg.
Maisy’s father called an ambulance, and on the way to the hospital, the 5-year-old went into anaphylactic shock. Doctors still don’t know if it was due to an allergic reaction to the rattlesnake venom, or the high dose of venom in her system after being bitten three times.
According to GoFundMe, when they arrived at South Georgia Medical Center, Maisy was life-flighted to Shands Children’s Hospital in Gainesville, Florida, where she was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit.
Over the weekend, Maisy received 41 vials of anti-venom, and was treated with antibiotics, steroids and fluids. On Tuesday, she was moved from the PICU to general recovery on the pediatrics floor.
“She’s a lot better,” Cyndi TODAY Parents. “The doctors are blown away at how she has pulled through. Her leg finally quit swelling…there was a moment we were unsure if orthopedic doctors would need to cut it open to relieve the swelling.”
Cyndi says they’re still unsure of when they’ll be able to leave the hospital and return home to Valdosta, Georgia. But with each passing day, Maisy is recovering beautifully.
On Wednesday, Cyndi posted a video of Maisy walking the halls of the hospital.
Posted by Cyndi Spell on Wednesday, June 23, 2021
“Still a bit wobbly, but she is full of life, determination, and perseverance,” the proud mom wrote.
Now the mother of six wants other parents to know the very real dangers of snakes, and how to educate kids about the safest way to respond if they come across a snake.
“I don’t know if it would have changed much, but I look back and wonder instead of telling my child, ‘Beware of snakes, snakes are scary and snakes are dangerous,’ maybe informing her more of what to do when she actually came across one might have helped some,” she said.
Experts say that it’s normal for wild animals to defend themselves when threatened. So the best thing for kids to do when they encounter a wild snake of any kind, is to stay calm, back away slowly, and go find an adult.
If you or your child does come in close contact with a snake, it’s important to make sure that you distance yourself several feet from the snake, and ensure the reptile has an escape route. A cornered snake will be defensive, and is more likely to strike. You never want to poke a snake, try to pick it up, or make it feel unsafe.
Ultimately, the best thing you can do is teach your kids to observe snakes from afar, and always find an adult.
Pest control companies advise using a smartphone to zoom in and snap a photo of any snake that finds itself in your yard so that it can be identified and removed if it is venomous.
As for Cyndi, the Georgia mom says she plans to make sure her children are equipped to know what to do if they encounter a snake in the future.
“My kids will know snakes are not some imaginary boogie man,” Cyndi said. “They are real, they are powerful and they can kill you. We know this firsthand because we almost lost Maisy.”