Child rushed to hospital after coming into contact with spiky cocoon while trampolining

The story every parent should read: How a dangerous cocoon left a little boy in the hospital after an innocent game on his trampoline nearly got killed

  • Paramedic issues chilling warning about common danger lurking in yards
  • Toddler in hospital after coming into contact with a spiky cocoon while playing
  • The bristles of the whitewashed gum moth within were embedded in his hand


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A chilling warning has been issued to parents after a toddler was rushed to hospital after being exposed to a deadly hazard while playing at home.

Younger Darcy bounced on his trampoline when he came into contact with a spiny cocoon containing a white-stemmed gum moth.

Thousands of painful spines were embedded in his small hand, which required surgery.

Paramedic Nikki shared the harrowing story on the Tiny Hearts Education Facebook page to warn other parents about the danger lurking in the yard in mailboxes and on logs, firewood and playground equipment.

It’s a timely reminder to check the area where your little ones play. I didn’t even know about it, but when Darcy’s mom contacted me, I knew I had to share!’ she posted.

A toddler was rushed to hospital for surgery after nails got stuck in his hand (pictured)

A toddler was rushed to hospital for surgery after nails got stuck in his hand (pictured)

‘The short spines on the outside of the cocoon are sharp and brittle, meaning they will break off and settle into your skin; they also carry a toxin that causes pain and, in rare cases, anaphylactic shock.”

The white-stemmed gum moth is found in southern Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

Female moths can grow up to 16 cm in length and are sometimes mistaken for bats, according to the Australian Museum.

The large, thick caterpillars are grey-black with yellow bands and covered with tufts of reddish-brown spiky bristles,’ the website reads.

“The bristles can penetrate human skin and cause painful skin irritations, even after the larvae have been preserved in alcohol.”

The bristles are difficult to remove and although they are not known to contain toxic chemicals, they will cause irritation in humans.

“In some cases, medical attention may be required,” the website added.

‘In general, it is not wise to handle hairy caterpillars as many species are known to cause irritation. Irritation of the skin by hairs is sometimes called ‘urticaria’, which means ‘nettle-like’.

The boy came into contact with the hidden danger (photo) while playing on the trampoline

The boy came into contact with the hidden danger (photo) while playing on the trampoline

The boy came into contact with the hidden danger (photo) while playing on the trampoline

The Facebook post was inundated with comments from parents thanking the paramedic for the warning and benefactors praying for a speedy recovery for the toddler.

“Now even the moths in Australia do so much damage. As if there weren’t enough snakes, spiders, crocodiles and cane toads to worry about already,” one woman wrote.

Other parents shared their own horror stories.

“My three-year-old son picked up one of these last year because it ‘wobbled,'” one mother noted.

“It took weeks/months to get the spines out, they broke off and dug into his skin and then got infected.

Every time he touched something it was extremely painful, so I bandaged his hand heavily and kept disinfecting him. I tried everything to get them out (tape, glue, tweezers, etc.) but nothing worked and the doctors couldn’t do anything once they broke off.’

Another added: “This happened to me as a child when I climbed the tree and ended up in the hospital and then in a sling for two weeks.”

Parents should be on the lookout for white-stemmed gum moths lurking in their gardens (stock image)

Parents should be on the lookout for white-stemmed gum moths lurking in their yard (stock image)

Parents should be on the lookout for white-stemmed gum moths lurking in their yard (stock image)

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