When their six-month-old baby Colton fell asleep while visiting friends, illinois parents Paige Ferguson and Blake Linton put him in the middle of a queen-sized bed surrounded by pillows, so he could nap. Their decision, one you may have even made yourself, would leave their son fighting for his life after he fell two feet and hit his head.
"We heard him hit the floor, and immediately start to cry," Ms Ferguson told Babble. "Blake dropped everything and flew into the room to get him."
In a Facebook post which has since gone viral, the distraught mother shared details of the accident, explaining that in doing so she hopes to save a life.
"This is a freak thing," she wrote. "Colton had a bump on his head. A bump. He was crying, acting alert and at one point even smiled." Despite having heard that if a bump sticks out, it's better than if it sinks in, and feeling reassured by Colton's reaction, the pair still decided to take him to the doctor.
"I expected to walk into that hospital and for them to tell me I was just being an overdramatic mother, he has a bump, he's fine."
Tragically, the news was far worse.
"He fractured his skull and bled half of his entire blood volume into his brain," Ms Ferguson wrote, explaining that she was told by doctors that Colton could die. "Colton may not live," she wrote.
"Colton may live and never walk or talk, Colton may be fine, Colton may be delayed. It's up in the air right now and he is still fighting for his life because we are not out of the woods."
Describing the situation as a "nightmare", Ms Ferguson wrote that she wanted her baby to be an advocate.
"I don't want other parents going through this...I don't want any kid to go through this. My heart is broken. I need you to hear me ... get your kids checked out! Please.The old tale of 'if the bump is outward you're safe' is NOT true."
After the accident, Colton spent a month in hospital undergoing tests. Doctors told Ms Ferguson and Mr Linton that their little boy had only "brain stem function with cerebral palsy and epilepsy so life crippling that his best quality of life was laying in a bed with a blank stare."
Just weeks after receiving this devastating news, however, the couple were thrilled to see Colton smile.
"My baby SMILED today. He SMILED," Ms Ferguson shared in the Facebook group Colton Lindon updates."I am just in awe and total amazement."
But she's also grieving the little boy she has lost.
"It's so hard not to miss the person he was," Ms Ferguson wrote in a Facebook update. "It's like still grieving even though the person is still physically here. It makes me sad to think of all the milestones that he would be hitting right now and watching videos of him babbling and belly laughing just tear my heart into pieces. Some days are just so hard."
In sharing Colton's story, Ms Ferguson says she isn't concerned about being judged. The mum's focus is on ensuring the same thing doesn't happen to anyone else. "Colton is our world; our life," she told Babble. "We wouldn't in a million years have done anything that we thought could harm our child. But I am finally letting go of some of the guilt about the accident, and even though I know people will judge me, I'll take it all, if we can save even one life."
You should call an ambulance if:
- Your child has had a head injury involving high speeds or heights greater than a metre, for example, car crashes, high-speed skateboard accidents or falling from playground equipment
- Your child loses consciousness (passes out)
- Your child seems unwell and vomits more than once after hitting their head.
You can make a donation to Colton via the family's Go Fund Me page.