A baby has been left in a coma after he bit into a washing detergent liquid capsule while his mum’s back was turned.
10-month-old Pearce Shepherd ingested some of the contents of a capsule at his family home, in Lennoxtown, East Dunbartonshire, Scotland, on Friday July 31.
He was rushed to the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow after the toxic chemicals burned his stomach and caused his lungs to swell up with mucous.
Mum Melissa Cairney, 27, was at home with her partner, David Shepherd, 36, and their four other children, Tyler, 10, Darcie, 7, Brodie, 3 and Hudson, 2, when the horrific accident unfolded, Daily Record reports.
Melissa had been doing laundry when she turned around and saw her baby boy holding the capsule in his mouth.
Melissa told the Daily Record: "I was in the kitchen making dinner and putting a washing on. All of the children were nearby.
"One of the tablets must have fallen from the work top onto the floor.
"Before I knew it, Pearce had grabbed one and pricked the corner off it. It all happened too quickly.
"He seemed okay but I text my mum and she said to go to A&E."
The worried parents were told an ambulance could take up to an hour so they decided to drive Pearce to the hospital themselves.
They had only been in the car for 15 minutes when he began to vomit and went floppy.
Mum-of-five Melissa said: “We had only gotten as far as Torrance when Pearce started vomiting and having bad diarrhoea.
"He went floppy and he looked at me, but it was like he was dead behind the eyes.
"I was constantly screaming and shouting at him to make sure he was still awake.
"I didn't know what was going on. I felt helpless."
They raced to the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow where medics awaited Peace's arrival and took him straight into theatre.
Frantic Melissa waited for an hour while medics performed an endoscopy and found his stomach had been burned by the toxic chemicals.
The toxins caused Pearce’s respiratory system to swell and he was placed in an induced coma.
Medics told his devastated parents he is likely to survive but they do not know how long it will take for him to recover, or what the long-term effects will be.
The 10-month-old remains in a coma in the intensive care unit.
"The doctors and nurses have been amazing and told me that Pearce will survive this," Melissa said.
"But they don't know how long it will take for his body to recover or what damage this could do to him long-term until he wakes from the coma.
"His lungs are still full of mucous and his body is fighting off infections because his immune system is so bad.
"They said they're just taking it minute-by-minute.
"It's so scary not knowing what's going on."
Melissa has been allowed to sit in the intensive care room her son shares with three other children.
Staff also allowed her to stay overnight at the hospital over the weekend in a separate room.
Dad David has had to stay at home with the couple’s other four children.
The distraught mum has now issued a warning to other parents about being vigilant around household cleaning products.
She continued: “I couldn’t believe how dangerous such a small amount of the liquid could be.
"I know products are poisonous but I didn’t think it would have put my baby in a coma.
"The doctors were saying that people don't realise how bad the liquid capsules are.
"There are so many strong chemicals in just one capsule.
"Pearce swallowed a tiny amount and he's ended up in intensive care.
"We just want to raise awareness and make sure this doesn't happen to any other families.”