As summer temperatures soar nationwide, a father of four is sharing a cautionary tale with other parents after his toddler suffered second-degree burns at a water park. Playing barefoot, the child stepped over hot metal and scalded the soles of his feet.
“I’ve been through hell the last 24 hours,” Andrew Sechrist told Q13 Fox Seattle on July 24 after returning from hospital with his 17-month-old son.
Andrew recalled hearing his boy crying inconsolably while playing at the splash pad at Seattle’s Georgetown Playfield. The dad assumed his son had tripped and fallen, but upon reaching the toddler, he discovered the boy had walked barefoot over a metal grate and severely injured the bottoms of his feet.
“His feet were white,” Andrew explained, “the skin … they had basically melted. He had second-degree burns on the bottom of his feet.
“Just putting my hand on here like that,” he added, referencing the metal grate, “I can’t keep it here for half a second, and my one-and-a-half-year-old son walked across.”
Andrew asked his wife to take their other three children home, according to Café Mom, and rushed his youngest to two different hospitals. Seattle Children’s gave the tot medicine for pain and referred Andrew to Harborview Medical Center, where the burn unit admitted the toddler overnight.
His blisters were drained and his legs wrapped in bandages; the distressed dad was given instructions that they remain on for 10 to 15 days. “All in all, it was an extremely difficult 24 hours for a 17-month-old kid,” Andrew reflected.
Returning to the scene to test the temperature of the grate around the same time of day as the toddler’s ordeal occurred, Q13 Fox later confirmed that the heat peaked at 130 degrees Fahrenheit (approx. 54 degrees Celsius).
As the toddler heals, Andrew chose to share the alarming incident so that other parents will take precautions, and to inspire action from the city of Seattle. City officials, however, responded by explaining that they have no current plans to make any changes to the Georgetown Playfield’s layout or signage.
Speaking to The Epoch Times via social media, Andrew revealed that his son has since made a full recovery: “Although the doctor said he would need to wear shoes or socks outside for a whole year for his feet to heal 100 percent.
“His feet are now pretty sensitive to surfaces such as a pool deck, or patios/decks that are in direct sunlight.”
In July 2019, a Canadian toddler made headlines for burning his feet at a splash pad in Kingston, Ontario.
One-year-old Thomas Donnelly’s parents claimed he ran barefoot onto an in-ground metal grate near the splash pad, reports the Ottawa Citizen; he was treated for second- and third-degree burns on the soles of his feet.
“You wouldn’t think he’d have to keep his shoes on and not be able to run around a splash pad,” Thomas’s mother, Amanda Insley, considered. “I want to make sure no one else got hurt.”
City officials responded to the incident by painting the grate yellow to make it more visible.
“I like that they made an effort to fix it,” said Thomas’s father, Brandon Donnelly, “but I don’t like the fact that [Thomas] had to get hurt for them to do something. Somebody should have done it before.”
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