Toddler undergoes surgery after being hit by falling tree branch - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Toddler undergoes surgery after being hit by falling tree branch

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WINDER, Ga. -

Georgia's youngest victim of the superstorm Sandy was in critical condition on Tuesday after hours in surgery.  Officials confirm strong wind gusts are to blame for huge tree branch that fell and injured 2-year-old Tripp Halstead.

Connie Wilbanks says that she has cared for Halstead since he was a newborn. She says she's heartbroken over what happened to the toddler at her Cribs to Crayons childcare center Monday morning.

Tripp was on the playground with his teacher and a six other toddlers when a 12-foot long branch snapped, hit a fence and then struck the toddler on its way down.

Tripp remains in critical condition at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, where he's recovering from hours of surgery to his head and skull.

Wilbanks said that she had a chance to visit and pray with the family on Monday. She's owned the daycare for about five years, but just moved into the building on Church Street one week ago and says there were no signs of trouble with the tree.

"If we thought, for any moment, that it was danger, we would have taken it down before we moved here," said Wilbanks, who says an arborist will inspect other trees on the property on Wednesday.

Winder city officials say they will try to coordinate with daycare staff and the Halstead family to establish a fund for public donations to cover Tripp's medical expenses.

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