Warning after toddler suffered 'devastating' burns from scalding bath

Little Courtney had to undergo several procedures after falling into scalding hot water aged three.

Mother issues warning to other parents after toddler suffered ‘devastating’ burns from scalding bath water NHS Lothian

A Fife mum has issued a warning to parents after her toddler suffered “devastating” burns after falling into scalding hot bath.

Courtney, seven, spent years battling back to full health after she suffered burns to more than a quarter of her body in 2018.

At the time, the three-year-old was reaching for a toy when she tumbled into a bath that was filling with scalding water.

“I would never have thought that tap water could burn so badly,” said mum Chloe Abrahams from Kirkcaldy.

“We heard horrendous screams and found that Courtney had fallen into a scalding hot bath.

“I quickly scooped her out of the bath, stripped her clothes off and wrapped her in a wet towel.

“She was covered in massive bulging blisters and we rushed her to hospital. But at this point, I didn’t realise how much damage had already been done.”

Courtney was immediately transferred to the high dependency unit in the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People (RHCYP), where she was sent to theatre every few days to get her burns scrubbed and redressed to prevent any infections.

“The pain Courtney went through just from lifting her into a different position on the hospital bed still breaks my heart when I think about it,” Chloe said.

“Seeing my daughter in that state was the worst thing I’ve ever been through.”

Courtney’s thighs and feet received the worst damage, as her socks and pants had held the scalding water close to her skin.

After being released from hospital, the toddler’s feet had to stay bandaged for over a month, meaning she struggled to walk for up to two months.

She received regular physiotherapy alongside numerous other appointments for over a year to aid her recovery and to help with the inevitable scarring.

Chloe added: “I honestly can’t thank all the amazing doctors and nurses at the RHCYP enough.

“Courtney is now seven and is doing great. She has lots of scars but she doesn’t let them define her.

“I would like other families to know that you can turn the water temperature down on your boiler. If we had known that – things might have been different for us.”

Now, Chloe is warning other parents to be aware of potential burns hazards around the home as part of Burns Awareness Day on October 12.

According to the Burns and Plastics Clinic at the RHCYP, burns are the most common household injury – with over 7,000 children suffering serious burns or scalds in the UK in 2021.

As Halloween and Bonfire Night approaches, Rosie Bainsfair, burns and plastics nurse specialist at the RHCYP, said: “Many of the children we see at the RHCYP in Edinburgh are injured in accidents around the house, involving very common things like hot drinks, irons or hair straighteners.

“If your child has a burn or scald, follow this simple ‘STOP’ first aid advice:

“Strip clothes, jewellery or nappies off (unless they are stuck to the skin).

“Turn on a cold tap or shower and run the burn under cool water for 20 minutes whilst keeping the child warm. Do not use ice.

“Organise medical assistance – attend A&E or dial 999.

“Protect the burn with cling film, provide painkillers and keep the child warm.”

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