Infant Trapped in Icy Canal Awake, Alert

Associated Press

A 20-month-old boy sat awake in his mother’s lap Christmas Day for the first time since the two were plunged under icy water in a car accident that trapped the toddler for 20-25 minutes.

Blond, curly haired Stephen Edmonds didn’t smile and fussed a bit at the intravenous tube in his arm and the oxygen tube in his nose.

But he followed the movements of those in his hospital room, responded when he heard his name and snuggled up in Debra Edmonds’ arms. His mother said it was the first time since the accident that he recognized her.

‘He Knows Me’


“I just go in there and hold him and talk to him and he knows me,” Edmonds said.

The child was trapped in a four-wheel-drive vehicle that skidded off a county road south of Gardnerville on Monday and crashed into an ice-covered canal, coming to rest with its wheels up. He was rescued by paramedics, who managed to restore a faint heartbeat while he was flown 50 miles north to Reno.

His 19-year-old mother could not find her son in the water but managed to escape through a broken window.

A red Christmas stocking hung from a bar at the end of Stephen’s bed, a large toy truck sat on a table and at least a dozen stuffed animals sat about. But Edmonds has said she won’t celebrate the holiday until Stephen comes home.


Taken Off Sedatives

Stephen had been kept sedated until Friday, and doctors had said he was able to respond to voices and his mother’s touch but generally did not recognize where he was or who people were.

Barry Frank, director of pediatrics at Washoe Medical Center, said the boy is lucky to be alive. In most cases, children trapped under water as long as Stephen either die or suffer severe brain damage, he said.

It was still too soon to tell if Stephen has any permanent brain damage, but if there is any, Frank speculated, it would be very minor.


Also Friday, Stephen was taken off a ventilator that was used to make breathing easier. Frank said he expected to remove other feeding and catheter tubes from the child within the next few days.