According to Philadelphia police, a baby girl, Skyy Isabelle Fraime, was attacked by pet ferrets that escaped their cage in the family home. The baby was sitting on the floor strapped into her car seat when the event occurred.
After Skyy's mother, Jessica Benales, heard her baby screaming from an upstairs bathroom, she discovered that Skyy's nose, top lip and cheek had been eaten by two pet ferrets. Skyy was immediately rushed to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for surgery for severe facial injuries. She is now in stable condition.
This story is beyond horrifying — especially for any new parent who has already lost sleep at night worrying about what could harm their precious baby. The first question on your mind is likely to be, "How could something like this happen?"
ABC7 News confirms that Skyy was placed in her car seat on the floor as Benales went upstairs to use the restroom. Skyy's father, Burnie Fraime, was upstairs asleep. During that brief time when the baby was left alone, two out of three pet ferrets escaped their cloth cage and ate 25 percent of her face.
So far, this sounds like a mistake that almost any parent could make, with the exception of failing to keep pet ferrets in a more secure cage. I can't tell you how many times I have walked away from my baby or toddler for just a second to perform a normal human function, like using the restroom. It's not a sin to leave your baby alone in a car seat for a few seconds after coming home.
But Darby Borough Police Chief Robert Smythe says there is more to the story. Chief Smythe describes the household as "in crisis," with a total of five children under 5 living in the home. After the incident, the four other young children were placed in the care of family members.
Neighbor Karen Hines provides a conflicting story. She says, "They are cautious with their pets, and they watch out for their children, so it probably was a freak accident."
Freak accident or not, this kind of disturbing event should never happen again. The ferrets have been put down after being tested for rabies. Poor baby Skyy has a long recovery process ahead with multiple surgeries needed to repair the damage done to her face.
Every parent will inevitably turn their back on their child for a second, but there's one parenting lesson that sticks out here: Pets need to be constantly monitored around babies and young children. Animals are animals, and even the best behaved pet has the potential to be unpredictable with a new baby in the house. Never take your baby's safety around a family pet for granted.
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