A “lovely and happy” 6-year-old girl nearly lost an eye while shopping with her grandmother in Sydney, Australia last week.
The incident, which tore off the youngster’s right eyelid, took place at a Kmart inside Chatswood Chase shopping center on Jan. 8.
Cecilia Chen, who just celebrated her 6th birthday three days prior, wanted a pink T-shirt for herself.
As her grandmother checked out the racks, she spotted one and jumped to grab it.
Unfortunately, Cecilia lost her balance — and her right eye fell right into a metal hook on the lower rack.
The girl wailed in anguish as an ambulance rushed to take her to Randwick Children’s Hospital.
(Warning: Graphic image below.)
“It was so sudden. It all happened in less than a second,” Cecilia’s mother, Jill Huang, told nine.com.au. “Cecilia wasn’t running around or doing anything silly. No matter how careful her grandma was, she could not have prevented it.”
Cecilia reportedly underwent a four-hour surgery to save her eyes. Sadly, some muscles, nerves and the lacrimal gland in her right eye socket were damaged, while her eyelid was sliced off.
“Luckily her eye ball was not damaged, but it will take a long time for Cecilia’s sight to return to normal,” Huang, who described Cecilia as a “lovely and happy” girl, told Daily Mail Australia. “Her right eye lid will be lower and smaller and never look the same. She is very sad and scared.”
Huang is now campaigning to get Kmart to make racks in its stores safer for children.
“We have processes in place to review any injury sustained by customers or team members in our stores, and we’re currently looking at safety options to reduce the chance of this type of injury occurring in the future,” a spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia. “We are in contact with the customer’s family directly in relation to this incident and our thoughts are with the family and Cecilia as she recovers.”
Huang reportedly visited the store on Jan. 11, but no changes have been made in response to her daughter’s plight.
“I was angry because it was all the same. The hooks and the display are still there, there were no signs,” Huang told nine.com.au. “If they don’t make changes then Cecilia will not be the only one injured.”
Cecilia, however, is not the first child to be injured at Kmart’s premises.
In July 2018, a 20-month-old girl got impaled in the eye with a metal prong at a store in Coffs Harbour. The incident reportedly prompted Kmart to remove 120 degree pegs from rack ends that were lower than 1.2 meters (3.94 feet) from its stores.
Feature Images via Jill Huang