Texas parents are literally burning cribs + wooden toys to keep their kids warm

Across the state, parents are taking extreme measures to keep their kids safe.

​One parent literally burned his child's crib for warmth. This is not okay.
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Parents in Texas are struggling to keep their kids safe during a week of devastating freezing temperatures and winter storms.

Millions of families are without clean drinking water, food or power. Nearly half the state's population remains under a boil-water advisory, as of Friday.

Power is slowly being restored after the state's energy grid was overwhelmed this week. Still, for families struggling to keep babies and young children warm, every minute without heat and power cost dearly.

Parents have taken to extreme measures to protect their children.

[Related: Here's how you can help Texans affected by the winter weather emergency]


After the energy company ERCOT tweeted a message about understanding how hard it is to be without power, one father responded, "All due respect, but I don't think you DO understand how hard this is. I had to saw up my baby's crib so that we could keep a fire going. And now we're burning toys (wood blocks). We've been without power since Monday at 5:40. We'd previously been out from Thursday to Sunday."

Can you imagine the desperation that family must have felt to make the decision to burn their child's crib for warmth?

Another woman tweeted, "I just had to make dinner for 6 kids over TEALIGHT CANDLES so ima need texas to heat back up."

She shared an image of eight tealights in a skillet, with a baking rack on top.

Mike Hixenbaugh, a reporter for NBC News, described a harrowing journey to save his son's life.

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"Last night, after we'd lost power & my pipes burst, my toddler choked on a peanut in our dark house," he wrote. "We rushed him across town on icy roads for emergency surgery at a hospital that does not have enough water pressure to flush toilets. Texas is a disaster."

He later shared an update about his son's health, saying, "Thank you everyone. My son is doing well this morning."

"One clarification," he added. "The hospital does not have *any* water. They're trucking it in. Nurses and staff are exhausted — many of them away from families stuck in frozen houses — but doing a great job caring for my little guy."

We're grateful that Hixenbaugh's son is okay—and furious that his family was put in this situation.

Yet another mother described burning her possessions to keep her child warm.

"I literally burnt anything wooden that I could stand to lose just to keep my kid warm," she tweeted.

A woman from Tennessee described how her family members in Texas are trying to melt snow, just to have water to flush their toilets.

"7 people at Nephew's (they have 5 kids.)," she wrote. "Had 7 inches of snow now ice. Are trying to melt snow for water to flush toilets. But of course grass and leaves are in the water so they have to get that out. What a mess in Texas," she said.

Yet another parent tweeted, "I still have no power. We got some candles and clay pots. Its helped to keep things warm. I'm tired. Yes, other places have dealt with cold. Texas isn't built for cold. Its built for 115F(46C) weather. My house doesn't keep heat in well. My kids are tired and cold."

She added, "I'm exhausted. I just want this to be over. We've been lucky to keep the kids safe. That I'm thankful for."

We're heartbroken for all the families across the country that are dealing with severe weather and struggling to keep their children safe.

If you'd like to help Texan families, consider donating to organizations that are actively working to keep families warm, fed and safe. Their lives quite literally depend on the generosity of these groups right now.

Jamie Orsini is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, military spouse, and a mom to two busy toddlers. In her spare time, Jamie volunteers with the Solar System Ambassador program with NASA/JPL and reads anything she can get her hands on. She’s currently working on her first novel.

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