GRANBURY, TX -- There's not a lot that keeps two-year-old Kiley Cook down. And luckily, the toddler is back to her typical, energetic self.
But just days ago, the little girl was in the hospital, sedated, after being bitten by a copperhead snake on the playground at Rainbow's Promise Daycare in Granbury.
"It was a scary moment. My heart stopped," says Kiley's mom, Nataly Horn.
Horn was working with another class at the same daycare when it happened. Michael Cook, Kiley's dad, got the call. "Hysterical, hysterical," he recalls of the phone call. "Your daughter was bitten by a snake, we’re going to the ER right now."
Kiley was flown to Cook Children's in Fort Worth. The hospital provided numbers showing it's been averaging between 17 and 25 pediatric snake bites a year.
The venomous bite caused Kiley's finger, hand and arm to swell, and her skin turned dark. "Her finger turned black, her whole hand began to balloon out," Michael Cook says.
Kiley will be okay, but the whole family is shaken by what happened. "We’re scared to even let her go outside right now," Horn says.
Tama Lofland, the owner of the daycare, says in the 18 years she's been in business, they’ve not had a single incident like this. But she does say they’ll now be taking some extra safety measures to keep snakes off the property, including putting up mesh fencing. She says she had experts come to the property to assess and give advice.
Lofland says daycare employees already scan the playground for snakes before playtime, and did the day of Kiley's bite, but will redouble their efforts.
Kiley's mother says she had scanned the playground earlier that morning when she took her class outside.
Granbury snake expert Mark Pyle also encourages people to wear shoes while walking through grassy areas in the spring, in case you step on a snake.
"Just be aware of your surroundings," Michael Cook urges parents and childcare providers. "Look for them. They're not hard to spot if you're looking for them."
Because the last person you want spotting the snake is a fearless toddler.