Toddler's Injuries From Scalding Garden Hose Water Serve as Crucial Reminder

The child's mother, who was charged with child neglect with great bodily harm, said she didn't seek medical care because she feared that the Department of Children and Families would get involved and she would lose custody.

With trips to the local community pool or beach halted for many families this summer, one of the easiest ways for kids to cool off and kick back is by playing in a refreshing spray from their garden hose. But rising summer temperatures can put children in danger, as evidenced by a distressing story out of Gainesville, Florida. A 24-year-old mom named Jessica Smith has been charged with child neglect with great bodily harm after authorities said she failed to seek treatment for her toddler who was sprayed with hot water from a hose, according to local news affiliate WGFL-TV.

After being alerted to the incident by the child's father, Department of Children and Families (DCF) observed the injuries and described the toddler as "permanently disfigured," WGFL reported. After initially implicating a babysitter, Smith later admitted that another child had sprayed the toddler with a hot hose, authorities reported. And she said she didn't seek medical care because she was afraid DCF would get involved and she would lose custody.

The heartbreaking story brings to mind an important warning shared on social media by Las Vegas emergency officials in 2018. Along with an image of a baby covered in burned, blistered skin on his back and arms, the Las Vegas Fire & Rescue department wrote, "Here in Las Vegas, a garden hose exposed to direct sunlight during summer can heat the water inside the hose (not flowing) to 130-140 degrees which can cause burns especially to children & animals. Let the water flow a few minutes to cool before spraying on people or animals."

The child in the image shared by Las Vegas authorities was injured in 2016. The little boy, then 9-month-old Nicholas Woodager suffered second-degree burns on 30 percent of his body. His mother, Dominique Woodger, said she was filling up a kiddie pool and accidentally sprayed the boy when she turned on the hose, according to KPHO-TV.

According to The Burn Foundation, water that reaches up to 140 degrees can lead to a second degree burn after just three seconds of exposure and a third degree burn in five seconds of exposure. And the issue is more common than many might realize: According to the World Health Organization, nearly 75 percent of burns in young children are from liquid, hot tap water, or steam.

That said, parents would do well to store garden hoses out of the scorching sun when possible and take a moment to check the temperature of water coming from a hose before allowing children to play in it.

And should a burn occur, consider the following guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics: Any blistering, swollen burn that covers an area larger than the size of your child's hand, or a burn that is on the hand, foot, face, genitals, or over a joint is a serious injury and should be seen immediately by a pediatrician or in an emergency room.

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