Fort Worth,
14:57 PM

Patients bitten by snakes

Camping trip takes scary turn for local family

Three in one month, that's how many patients Cook Children's were treated for snake bites this May.

The latest happened over Memorial Day weekend to an Arlington, Texas teenager. Conner Norman was camping with his family at Lloyd Park on Joe Pool Lake when a copperhead bit the back of his heel. His father, Kip Norman, says his son was walking back to the campsite after taking his sister for a ride on a jet ski when it happened.

"He came into the camper and said 'Dad, I just got bit by a copperhead," Norman said. "I was in disbelief at first, until I turned around and saw his face."

Norman and the family rushed to the emergency room at a local adult hospital. Staff there decided to transfer the teen to Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth. Though his foot and leg swelled nearly twice the normal size, the snake didn't inject enough venom to warrant anti-venom treatment. Conner was closely monitored and released the next day, which also happened to be his birthday.

"He turned 15 at midnight in the ED at Cook Children's. I guess the snake was trying to give him a birthday kiss," Norman joked.

Thankfully, the family can laugh about it now because Conner is going to be just fine.

WFAA-TV reported that a Granbury toddler was bitten by a copperhead snake while on a playground at daycare. The child's father told the TV station that the little girl's finger turned black and became swollen.

At Cook Children's, between 17 and 25 children have been admitted due to snake bites each year since 2013.

"We’ve already seen several snake bites this year," said Sharon Evans Trauma/Injury Prevention outreach coordinator at Cook Children’s. “The numbers we’ve seen are not above normal, but it’s always a good idea to warn children about snakes.”

Evans says it’s not just live snakes that pose a threat either.

“We’ve seen bites that occurred after a snake was killed. Often the parents or kids want to get a closer look of the ‘dead’ snake and the head still had the reflex to bite.”

With the recent rain in North Texas, snakes may be seeking dry areas and may be spotted in places you wouldn't normally see them. Parents shouldn't be alarmed, but this is a good reminder to talk to your kids about snake safety.


Here are nine tips to start the conversation with your child:

1. Don't touch a snake
2. Don't try to kill a snake
3. Ignore the snake if you see it
4. Wear closed-toe shoes in wooded areas
5. Don't put fingers under rocks or crawl under houses or other structures
6. Don't canoe or boat under limbs on rivers, streams or lakes
7. Avoid edges of lakes, streams and rivers where vegetation is high
8. Instruct your children to notify you if they see a snake 
9. If bitten by a snake, seek medical help immediately. DO NOT open the wound or try to suck out the venom. 


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