O’FALLON, MO – A St. Charles county mother is speaking out after her young son suffers serious facial injuries following a fall on a water feature at an O`Fallon, Missouri park.
“It`s been very scary to see your child so hurt,” said Stacy Owens in an exclusive interview with Fox 2/News 11.
She added, “That`s every parent`s worst nightmare to see your kid hurt.”
It happened Saturday morning at the newly opened O`Day Park in O`Fallon, Missouri.
Stacy and her husband were at the park with Mason and their two other kids.
They saw a water feature which has concrete steps with water flowing over and around them that you can walk on.
It is set up similar to a waterfall.
Stacy says they had safety concerns so they went to the bottom flat area.
She tells us she and her husband were closely supervising their kids.
Stacy says her 5-year-old slipped first but wasn`t hurt, then Mason went to step from one block to another, slipped, and fell face first onto one of the concrete corners.
“There was blood everywhere because he had a big gash above his eye and then his nose was just gushing. I couldn`t even see his face because it was totally covered in blood and he`s screaming,” explained Stacy.
Stacy, who has past paramedic experience, rushed Mason to a hospital where he was sedated and treated for a cut above his eye and across his nose.
Stacy says Mason`s right eye was swollen shut until Monday night.
“He got a lot of stitches in his face and his eye. They had to glue some parts on his nose because that skin is just really thin and frail,” said Stacy.
She added, “He was being cautious and safe and calm and this was just a situation where the set-up was slippery and not safe.”
Stacy posted about the incident on Facebook where many people have seen it.
Several parents we spoke with at the park were aware of what happened and understood Stacy`s safety concerns.
Nonetheless, they let their kids play on the feature.
“Oh for sure it`s a safety hazard. You take concrete steps with pointed edges, you add water and then you add kids. Of course, it`s a safety issue. Did I let my kids play on it? I did- they can get hurt anywhere,” said Karen Gerst, a mother from Wentzville.
“This playground was designed as what we call an adventure playground,” said O`Fallon city spokesperson Tom Drabelle about the area.
He says the park opened in late April and is designed to have activities for kids of all ages.
He tells us the water feature has textured concrete to prevent it from being slippery.
“We believe the water feature is a safe feature for this area however a couple of things to think about. First of all, there are different pieces of it and there are pieces that are more designed for younger kids,” said Drabelle.
Drabelle says signs are coming which will recommend that kids wear water shoes on the feature.
But he tells us those were ordered before this incident and are because of concerns that the concrete`s texture is uncomfortable for kids` feet.
Stacy says more needs to be done to make the water feature safer.
“My son was hurt and it was devastating and awful. I just don`t want another kid to be hurt,” said Stacy.
Stacy says Mason may also have a broken nose.
The swelling has been so extreme that doctors can`t tell yet.
O`Fallon city officials say they are considering additional signage urging people to use caution at the water feature.