A Longmont toddler remains sedated and with an uncertain future at Children's Hospital in Aurora after she apparently was shocked by an iPod USB cable connected to a laptop.
Trinity Anderson was playing at the foot of a recliner on Monday while her mother, Rhianna Anderson, sat in the chair and used her laptop, the girl's grandfather Jeffrey Anderson said Thursday.
When Trinity didn't poke her head out from behind the recliner as she expected, Rhianna Anderson looked down and saw her 16-month-old daughter lying face down. When she lifted the girl up, her body was limp. Next to her was one end of the USB cable. The other end was attached to the laptop, which was plugged in.
The family believes Trinity placed the USB cable in her mouth. There are pieces of burnt flesh in the prongs of the cable.
Rhianna Anderson, who is an EMT and studying to be a nurse, rushed her daughter to Longmont United Hospital, just one block away. Within an hour, the little girl was on her way to Children's Hospital.
Jeffrey Anderson said the family decided to go public with the story, even though talking about it is painful, because they had no idea a USB cable -- which typically carries just 5 volts -- could be so dangerous, and they want other families to know.
"With the number of people who have these, with the number of doctors and nurses who say they've never seen anything like this, we felt we had to let people know," he said.
Trinity remains at Children's Hospital with third-degree burns on her tongue, palate and lips. She is on sedatives and paralyzing drugs to prevent her from moving and disturbing her breathing tube, Jeffrey Anderson said. She needs the tube because her tongue is so swollen it blocks her airway.
Anderson said he feels helpless as he watches his granddaughter in her hospital bed.
"I want to make it better, and there's nothing I can do," he said.
Anderson said doctors plan to allow Trinity to regain consciousness in the next day or two to assess how much neurological damage occurred. The little girl wasn't breathing for several minutes, and her heart nearly stopped beating.
Anderson said doctors expect Trinity to recover from her burns, though she may have lasting cosmetic damage. Right now, the family's main concern is that the happy, laughing little girl does not suffer serious brain damage, and they hope she is young enough that she can recover any lost capabilities.
"As long as she comes back to us, that's what matters," Jeffrey Anderson said.
A spokesman for Apple said he couldn't comment on the situation or what hazard USB cables might pose.
Anderson said the family is enlisting the help of an electrical engineer to figure out whether the device malfunctioned or had some flaw.
Anderson said he hopes other families will keep track of all wires and cables, but he also knows it's hard to keep track of kids at all times.
"I don't know how you could predict everything that could happen to a child," he said. "You don't know what might be attractive to a child."
Anderson said he believes his granddaughter is alive at all because of his daughter's EMT training and because she lived so close to the hospital. He also had nothing but praise for the treatment provided by the doctors and nurses at Longmont United and Children's Hospital.
"If any one of those links had been missing, she might not be with us," he said.