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Parents’ horror after toddler poured boiling tea over himself

A mum experienced a “parents’ worst nightmare” when her toddler poured a mug of boiling hot tea over himself and had to have a skin graft, was bandaged up “like a mummy”.

The child continues to wear a compression top for 22 hours per day one year on.

Michelle Downes, 38, dialled 999 as soon as she heard what had happened to her then two-year-old son Jenson while his father Jamie’s back was turned for just a moment at their home, where their seven-year-old son Maddox also lives, in No Man’s Heath, Cheshire, in May last year.

Jamie had just made himself a cup of tea, and turned to put the tea bag in the bin, when Jenson reached up to the counter and pulled the mug down and boiling water poured all over his body.

Due to the sight of Jenson in so much intense pain, he was screaming and his skin was “bright red and peeling off”, Michelle said she had to “pretend that he wasn’t (her) son” to stay calm and help cool him down by bathing him in water.

Jenson, who is now three, was flown by helicopter to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and doctors discovered he suffered burns to the right side of his body and face – so they had to perform a skin graft and bandage his entire upper body.

Michelle thinks since the accident Jenson has become more sensitive to touch – he has to be held down to have his haircut and has his toenails cut in his sleep.

Arriving home, Michelle and her husband, Jamie, a 45-year-old chimney sweep, re-arranged their kitchen so the kettle was as far away from any edges as possible, and are still “more jumpy” to this day.

“(Jamie) literally just turned his back, and then the next thing you heard was a smash of a cup, and then a scream,” Michelle told PA Real Life.

“I was upstairs, so I didn’t actually see it happen, but I heard it.

“Initially, I thought I’d left a knife on the side because I just cooked their dinner… I didn’t hear the smashing, I just heard the scream then I ran downstairs and by Jamie’s voice knew something serious.

“I walked in and he was soaking wet but screaming, my eldest was screaming as well…it’s a parents’ worst nightmare and you never think something like this could happen to you – but it can.

“His skin looked like a tomato when it’s boiled – all his skin was bright red and peeling off.”

On the evening of May 17, Jenson, then two, accidentally poured boiling hot tea over himself, while in the kitchen with his dad.

Jamie quickly put Jenson in the sink so he could bathe in cool water to help ease the burn, and Michelle rang 999 – the call handler then assisted Michelle, and asked her to put her son in a lukewarm shower.

Michelle said: “I had to pretend that he wasn’t my son and he was just someone at work that’s burned themselves badly, so I just got on with it and was quite calm.

“I could have been shocked… even though I was panicking inside, I tried to stay calm.

“Whereas my husband was very much panicking and was really upset – distraught.”

Jenson's parents have since rearranged their kitchen (Collect/PA Real Life)
Jenson’s parents have since rearranged their kitchen (Collect/PA Real Life) ( )

Within 20 minutes, a helicopter from the North West Air Ambulance Charity arrived – providing advanced pain relief and fluids.

“It was a sigh of relief really when they came in, because you just felt like you weren’t on your own and it made you feel calm,” Michelle said.

“They took control of the situation and it felt like everything was going to be okay.”

At Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, doctors began by washing his wounds and bandaging Jenson everywhere from his waist up, so he “looked like a mummy”.

They then took him into surgery to have the skin graft, with skin taken from his right thigh and grafting it to his right shoulder, and he continued to be bandaged up for the following four weeks.

“I just broke down because you couldn’t see his face – he had tape all around his head, and he had bandages all on his face, even though it wasn’t burned badly, he still needed them,” Michelle explained.

“It just didn’t look like him – he couldn’t show any facial expressions, he couldn’t do anything.

“I think in a way he got used to it each day, but he found it hard… every time the door opened, he tried to make a run for it every time.”

One of the first things Michelle and her husband did when arriving home was re-arrange their kitchen to prevent any other accidents.

“Nothing’s near the sides – we’ve moved the kettle to the furthest point in the kitchen and we don’t let him in the kitchen on his own,” Michelle said.

“We now don’t use the front two stoves on the hob because we’re worried about him obviously reaching and pulling a saucepan down.

“It’s made us more panicky – as soon as he runs into the kitchen, I’m like ‘Jamie, go and get him.’

“It’s definitely made us a bit more jumpy, more cautious.”

Jenson has become more sensitive to touch and now has to wear a compression top for 22 hours per day to decrease the severity of scarring.

“I just think that he doesn’t like being enclosed or forced to be in a position that he doesn’t want to be,” she said.

“Now, getting his haircut, we have to pin him down and it’s traumatic for him and traumatic for us – but it has to be done.

“We have to cut his toenails at night when he’s asleep. So it’s all those things that you never think of really.

“He’s also a nightmare with medication too – even with a cold we struggle to give him anything because of him having to take so much in hospital.”

Over time, his skin graft is less visible, and Michelle hopes it will not impact him in future.

“It’s faded quite a bit now already and it’s just the same colour as his skin,” she said.

“So the skin actually doesn’t look any different apart from it being wrinkly.

“You wouldn’t really know looking at it – at school, the only time that you might see is PE but I think by the time he gets to that age it will be less noticeable.”

#Parents #horror #toddler #poured #boiling #tea

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