Toddler struck by tree limb survives another night

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ATLANTA —

The family of a child who suffered head injuries after a tree limb fell on him is waiting for swelling in the toddler’s brain to go down.

Relatives are thankful the boy survived another night Tuesday, but his father said the child is still in a very critical state.

As many as 50 people have filled the waiting room at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Egleston over the past two days, waiting and praying for 2-year-old Tripp Halstead.

“He’s such a great kid and doctors keep talking about how sick he is with the whole trauma that he’s been through and we just keep trying to have positive thoughts,” uncle Kevin Condon said.

Tripp was playing outside his Winder day care on Monday when wind associated with Sandy caused a tree limb to fall, hitting him in the head.

Tripp was flown to the hospital, where doctors spent three and a half hours operating on his brain.

Family members said they’re watching along with doctors to see if swelling from Tripp’s head injury goes down, and the first 72 hours are critical.

“We’re hoping that even though the numbers are going up and down, up and down, that by Thursday they’ll be down from what they were before,” Condon said. “He’s got all those wires hooked up to him, but he still looks like the cutest little guy. Just looks so tough laying there.”

Condon said doctors are preparing Tripp’s parents for what could come next. In the best case scenario, Tripp will spend a month in the intensive care unit, then to Scottish Rite for what could be a long rehabilitation.

“They said with such a brain surgery like this, he’s going to have to relearn everything,” Condon said.

Tripp’s father, Bill Halstead, has been posting updates to his Facebook page.

"Tripp had another fine night, his Intercraneal pressures did creep up slightly around 3. That is our big concern right now, our medical team is working to control it as much as possible. You will hear this a lot but he is still very much hour by hour, and in a very critical state. Thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers, they are being felt and are so appreciated," Halstead wrote Wednesday morning.

Condon said the family is touched by the well-wishes from friends, family and complete strangers.

Investigators with the State Department of Early Care and Learning went back to the day care on Tuesday to follow up and identify any potential hazards, which they said is standard procedure.

The family said they have everything they need right now, but they realize they could face several challenges, including missing work as Tripp recovers.