Iowa Toddler, 2, Shoots Mother After Finding Gun on Bedside Table

A young mother has been shot by her toddler after leaving a gun unattended on a bedside table in their Iowa home.

Meriah Carlyle, 21, was shot by her 2-year-old son with an unsecured handgun in Dyersville on November 4.

Officers responded to a call from the home at 406 4th Avenue NE around 6:15 p.m, Dyersville police said.

Investigators allege that both parents were in the room with the child when the 2-year-old found the gun, but didn't notice the boy had picked up the weapon until it fired, according to an affidavit cited by the Associated Press.

Carlyle was first taken to Finley Hospital in Dubuque before being airlifted to Iowa City with life-threatening injuries.

A GoFundMe page has since been set up to raise money for her medical bills.

"Meriah was involved in an accidental shooting," the page reads. "Her femoral artery and femur were severely damaged. She was rushed into surgery that lasted eight hours. The next day she had a second surgery and was in an induced coma until they thought she was stable enough".

Carlyle is said to have had a third surgery to place rods in her leg on November 10.

Carlyle and the toddler's father Logan Keller, 23, were arrested on November 16, according to a police report.

Both have been charged with child endangerment for leaving a loaded handgun on a bedside table, Dyersville Police Chief Brent Schroeder told Newsweek.

Newsweek has contacted the family for comment.

More than 300 American children gain access to firearms and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else every year, according to campaign group Everytown for Gun Safety.

There have been at least 246 unintentional shootings by children so far this year, resulting in 103 deaths, according to the group's #NotAnAccident index of shootings. In more than half of those incidents, the child was five or under.

The group says an estimated 4.6 million children in the U.S. live in homes where there is at least one gun that is loaded and unlocked. It urges gun owners to take extra precautions when children are in the presence of firearms.

On November 2, a 2-year-old in Mississippi girl is thought to have accidentally shot herself.

Officers responded to a call on Line Street in Senatobia, about 40 miles south of Memphis, at 9 a.m.

Senatobia Assistant Chief of Police Matt Defore said preliminary evidence suggested the shooting had occurred as a result of "an accidental discharge."

Her father, Mardarikkious Walls, 21, was charged with one count of contributing to the neglect of a child.

On October 5, a 9-year-old boy in Chicago died after accidentally shooting himself in the head.

Officers scrambled to the child's North Austin home, where they found Ashton Lipscomb bleeding from a head wound. The boy was rushed to hospital and pronounced dead less than an hour later.

Three guns were found in a second-floor bedroom, The Chicago Tribune reported.

One of the weapons, a revolver, had a spent shell casing in the cylinder. It is understood the boy's father told police he was collecting his wife from hospital when the shooting occurred.

It is unclear if any adult was in the home at the time of the shooting.

On September 23, a toddler accidentally shot his 12-year-old cousin after finding a gun.

The 2-year-old boy was playing at a house in Alabama when the incident occurred. The toddler is understood to have come across the firearm on a bed, picked it up and pulled the trigger.

The 12-year-old's mother told investigators the gun belonged to her 19-year-old son and had been found by her 2-year-old nephew. Police said the shooting was accidental.

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File photo: Bullets and an assault rifle clip on the nightstand of a bedroom. A young mother was shot by her toddler after leaving a gun unattended on the bedside table in Iowa on November 4. Andrew Lichtenstein/Getty