Metro toddler recovering after firework injury at Fourth of July celebration

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A father's heart dropped when a Fourth of July celebration turned to panic within a second. Now a toddler is recovering in a metro hospital. The 1-year-old's father said she suffered second degree burns to her face because of an incident involving a firework.

The Fourth of July holiday will never be the same for Shakur Kalifah and his daughter Khalinah. The girl's father said she's going to be OK. He wants people to know what happened to her and to hopefully remind people about the danger of fireworks.

"It shot one of the projectiles towards the porch, and my daughter just happened to be up there, and it hit her in the mouth," Kalifah said.

On Thursday night Kalifah said he got a call that devastated him.

"When I got that phone call and they said that she was injured," Kalifah said. "She got hit with a firework and it was pretty bad. I didn't know if it was her eye. If her eye was injured or vital organs or something - it most definitely could have been worse."

Khalinah was with her mother sitting on a porch when he said a firework a distance away fell over, shot out, and hit her in the face.

"It burned her lips, her tongue, the right side of her face, and the left side of her neck, and a couple of her fingers," Kalifah said.

She was rushed to Children's Mercy Hospital where doctors put her into a medically induced coma, and put her on a breathing tube.

"Being angry and crying wasn't going to fix anything, so we had to be there," Kalifah said.

"We had to keep our composure. We had to do what we could. That was pray, and be there every day, and ask questions of the doctors, and let them do what they do best."

He said the toddler is on her way to recovery with him and Khalinah's mother by her side.

"She's back to herself now. They took the breathing tube out," Kalifah said "She's breathing on her own. Her injuries are healing up very well. She was talking and responding, just asking for me throughout the night, asking for her mom. It's been a very emotional time for us."

Kalifah said while his daughter's life changed with the spark of a fuse the fact that she is alive is a reason to celebrate.

"It's good to just be able to hold her, and to hear her voice, and to see her open her eyes," Kalifah said. "It's beautiful."

Kalifah said he wanted to share their story to remind parents to be careful with young children around fireworks. He said the only fireworks his daughter will be around next year are ones handled by professionals.

Khalinah is expected to be released from the hospital Monday or Tuesday.

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