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Mother says toddler contracted Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease at splash pad

Posted at 7:53 PM, Jul 10, 2019

COLORADO SPRINGS — A Colorado Springs mother says her toddler contracted Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease at a local park, and she wants other parents to take precautions.

El Paso County Health Department says it's a routine childhood illness and once kids contract it and recover, a period that could take two weeks or more, they become immune.

But one mom says she never wanted this to happen to her toddler, and stresses other parents can do their part to prevent it from happening to other families too.

Molly Lenig is helping her two-year-old daughter, Athena, get back to her normal self, after she says a 4th of July trip to John Venezia park turned into a nightmare.

"She'd gone in there with her pacifier. I assumed she dropped it and put it in her mouth," Lenig said.

Lenig says her daughter then contracted Hand, Foot and Mouth disease, characterized by painful blisters.

"It has been overwhelming, Lenig said.
"Sometimes, the nights where she's been up, screaming, crying, even after medication, I've honestly sat there and cried just looking at her blisters."

"As a mom, I want to take away her pain. I'd rather me be sick than her," she added.

The disease is most common in children, and spreads through fecal matter and spit.

Lenig believes parents aren't looking after children that aren't potty trained, and therefore putting others at risk.

"It's a public place," she emphasized.
"It needs to be you know, just like picking up after yourself - trash."

Though the water was a concern for Lenig, too, El Paso County Health Department says it mostly spreads from person to person contact.

"It can be spread through things like water but it's a lot less likely," said Hailey Zachary, a communicable disease epidemiologist.

Now Lenig says she wants parks and families to work together on this.

"It takes both parties to keep it clean," she pointed out.
"Keep it friendly, keep it safe for our kids."

The El Paso County Health Department says they do not routinley inspect places like the splash pad at John Venezia park, unless there are multiple reports of the same illness, and in this case they have no reason to believe there is an outbreak of Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease happening in the county.