A mum dubbed 'Aunty Kissy' is now warning parents never to kiss their babies after her newborn child nearly died from meningitis – contracted from an innocent peck.
Krystal Hayes, 26, and her partner John Gresham, 30, were terrified when their nine-day-old son Gunner was rushed to A&E with a high temperature and rapid breathing.
The couple knew something was wrong when the child cried simply from being touched but her 'world came crashing down' when she was told that the baby had viral meningitis.
However Krystal, from Nottinghamshire, says she was devastated when doctors informed her it could have been transferred by an innocent kiss.
"I smother my kids in kisses, even my friends and relative kids. I'm actually called Aunty Kissy for that reason," Krystal said.
"I will cuddle until my heart's content but never will I kiss another newborn than doesn't belong to me and never will I kiss any of my new babies, if I have any more, on or around their mouths again."
John first saw that something was wrong when he got up at 4am on May 29 to feed Gunner and noticed he was warm but assumed it was due to the hot weather and took the blanket off him.
The next morning, Gunner was still quite warm, his temperature had reached 38.9
and his breathing became very fast.
The couple knew something wasn't right and called a midwife, who told them to go to A&E immediately.
When they arrived at Bassetlaw District General Hospital Gunner's heart rate was between 200- 222bpm at its peak and he quickly went into resuscitation.
He then started convulsions, seizures that happen because of a fever, due to his temperature and he was barely responsive.
Blood and urine tests were taken along with an X-ray which all came back as clear.
IV antibiotics were given along with paracetamol and ibuprofen to try and reduce his temperature.
After Gunner was stabilised he was taken to the children's ward before being taken away by the doctors to perform a lumbar puncture in the lower part of his spine to test for infections such as meningitis.
"We could hear him from the room crying. Everything runs through your mind at that moment. I just sat and cried. The reality hit that it was serious. It was awful,” Krystal said.
An ambulance then took the family to Doncaster Royal Infirmary where it was confirmed that he had viral meningitis.
Gunner hadn't shown any of the more recognisable symptoms of meningitis, such as change in appetite, being sensitive light, stiff neck or cold hands and feet and only developed red spots later on.
"It could have been transferred by someone who was ill. They said viruses can live in you without being known so you might not have any symptoms but it could be transferred by a kiss,” Krystal said.
"I don't think you realise as a parent that something so simple can be so dangerous.
"I don't know what the outcome would have been if we didn't realise. It doesn't bare thinking about.
"If one person takes note and doesn't let people kiss their baby than that's all that matters.
"We wouldn't blame anyone. It could have been us. Never would I have thought a kiss would hurt someone."
A spokesperson from Meningitis Now said: "Anyone can get viral meningitis but it is most common in babies and young children. Viral meningitis is not usually life-threatening, but can lead to more complications in young babies.
"Many different types of viruses can cause viral meningitis. Spread of these viruses is common and they can be passed from person to person by coughing, sneezing and on unwashed hands.
"Attention to good general hygiene measures, such as hand washing, will help to stop the spread of some of these viruses.
"Anyone with a cold sore (herpes simplex virus) should not kiss a young baby as there is a risk of the virus being passed on, which could cause an illness such as viral meningitis in a young baby."