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Teddy’s Story – Burned by a faulty shower…

The incidence of bath and shower scalds has generally decreased over the last 14 years since the change in building regulations in 2009 to ensure all baths in new builds and refurbishments are fitted with a thermostatic mixing valve (TMV), a campaign that was supported by Children’s Burns Trust.  However, bath and shower scalds still happen and mum Aimee reached out to tell us how her young son sustained a scald in the shower in the summer of 2023. She wants to raise awareness to help parents to avoid these situations and stress the importance of knowing what to do if a burn or scald does occur.  

I want to share what happened to our family to help raise awareness of the risk of scald injuries in the bathroom.  For us the reality is, these things can happen out of nowhere, no matter how careful you are and being aware of how to react when a burn or scald accident happens really does make all the difference.

We always made sure hot drinks were kept out of reach and we still had a baby gate on our kitchen to keep the kids away from the cooker, kettle etc. but we were completely unaware of the risks posed by our bath/shower.

We’d decided to give Teddy age 2 and his sister Evelyn age 5 a shower rather than run a bath as we were short on time before bed. I’d turned the shower on and got the water to the correct temperature and Teddy was happily sat playing at the bottom of the shower, spraying the water on the walls and himself. Next minute I heard him scream and went rushing in. The water pressure must have dropped in the shower, we believe due to a fault in the shower and when the water came back on at full power the water was scalding hot. It all happened in a matter of seconds. 

Burns on a child's leg

I grabbed Teddy out of the shower, we immediately turned the shower to cold and I tried to get back in with him, unfortunately as he was clinging to me so much we found it difficult to spray water on his front. We decided to start running a bath and whilst the water was filling I was sat in the bath with Teddy and splashing the cool running water onto him and once it was deep enough, I sat with him and kept his body and legs under the water to keep them covered. As a mother all I wanted to do was comfort him as he continuously tried to climb onto me. My husband Sam kept me calm and reminded me that I needed to keep him under the water, and although he was crying in pain, this was the best thing for him.

Whilst all this was going on Sam called 111 who advised us to take him to A&E, however we felt this was not an option for us as the location of his burns would have made it difficult to safely strap him into his car seat. Sam then called 999 and I stayed in the cool bath with Teddy until they arrived 20 minutes later. We were taken to our local A&E department and then transferred to the specialist burns service 50 miles from home.  It was such a whirlwind after we arrived in A&E and not a time that I want to remember.

Teddy was confirmed to have 11% burns to his chest, abdomen, groin, right thigh, right shin, left shin, left ankle and his right hand. 

Burns on a child's torso

Thankfully Teddy didn’t require any skin grafts although there were a couple of areas that the doctors were concerned were a bit deeper.  We were discharged after 10 days in hospital and then continued to attend the hospital for dressing changes.  Whilst most of the burn healed well, at the beginning of September the burns staff confirmed that Teddy will need to wear a pressure garment on his legs to help reduce the scarring in the areas of the burn that took longer to heal.  The garment has to be worn 23 hours a day and the length of time can be anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. It’s heartbreaking that this accident will affect him for such a lengthy time, and I don’t believe many people are aware of the impact a scald injury can have. 

Whilst we still have challenges to face we are hoping that the scars will fade in time and the trauma from the event will ease.  I’m so grateful that my husband knew what to do when the burn happened and that Teddys recovery has gone well. We are so proud of how incredibly brave our little boy has been throughout. 

Aimee and Sam

Footnote from Children’s Burns Trust

Aimee and Sam have shared their story just a month after the accident in the shower happened.  They are still waiting for a plumber to assess the shower to understand what happened with the water temperature.  We are grateful for their courage in reaching out to Children’s Burns Trust to share their story to raise awareness of the risk of bathroom scalds.  

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