Sunday 20 May 2012

Hot Water

It pains me that I have to write this blog, but after two pretty shocking jobs in as many weeks, my frustration has boiled over (excuse the pun). It's simple really; kids and boiling water do not mix, skin and boiling water do not mix. Accidents do happen but these calls really did make me think that reproduction should only be allowed after passing written exams and parenting assessments! 

"12 year old girl, burns to foot"

It was a sunny day. Not a hot day, but a sunny one. In fact it was cold! We got the job and headed over to the estate. We located the flat, knocked and entered the open door. We were beckoned through to the living room, though the crying and screaming was enough to guide us in the right direction. On the sofa was our patient. The skin over her ankle was missing or peeled and there were scalds over her entire foot.  It looked extremely painful so we got her breathing on the entonox whilst we went to work applying burns dressings and cling film.

"So what has happened?" 

I said to her mum, who was sat, apparently not concerned and chewing gum on the other sofa. She was looking at her daughter as if she was making a mountain out of a mole hill, and us as if we were interrupting the football that was on TV.

"She dropped the water for the water balloons on her foot"

"Water balloons?!?!?"

"Yeah, we was filling up her water balloons"

"With boiling water?!?!"

"Yeah, it's cold outside innit and I din't want 'em to get a cold"

"Were you filling them up for them?!?!"

"Nah, but I was 'elping"

Personal feelings aside, we ignored what I had just heard and carried the girl out to the ambulance and off to hospital.

Three shifts later.......

"1 year old girl, burns to legs"

A similar setting, this time in a tower block. We bundled into the lift, discussing our previous burns job. The phrase 'seriously, what is wrong with people' was muttered by my crew mate. As we approached the door, again, the all too familiar sound of the screaming child could be heard from deep within the flat. We were let in and made our way into the living room. On the floor was the mother with the child on her lap. There was a nasty looking scald on both of her thighs. Like before we started dressing them with aqua gel and cling film as best we could. The mother didn't speak English but her neighbour translated for us

"Have you given her anything for the pain?"


"Any Calpol in the house?"

"No" (my crew mate grabbed ours and administered)

"How did this happen?" 

"I only left the room for 20 seconds and she grabbed the kettle and spilt it on her lap"

Obvious question: "How did she reach the counter top?"

"She was sat on the counter while I was cooking?"

"Next to a boiling kettle? You put her on the counter next to the kettle and left the room?"

"You make it sound worse than it is"

"Let's just get her to hospital, have you got her red book?"

"No, she wasn't born here"

"OK what GP is she registered with?"

"She isn't because she doesn't have a visa"

I left my line of questioning there, gathered up her stuff and ushered them out to the ambulance and off to hospital. 

Obviously, both jobs were reported to the necessary people, the outcome of which I will probably never know. But seriously... am I missing something?!! Do people really think it is OK for children to play with, or be near, boiling water? A water balloon filled with boiling water could have hit someone in the face. A 1 year old sat next to a cooker with a kettle of boiling water could have been much, much worse. Maybe I was naive, but when I came into this job I simply did not envisage that these things happen. I thought I'd see accidents, sure, but this?! Kids by nature are inquisitive, that we cannot stop nor would we wish to, it's how they learn; but ignoring hazards and putting them in harm's way is completely different. I often think and moan that health and safety has gone mad. 'Caution, Hot Coffee' on a McDonald's coffee cup was something I found bizarre, but maybe now not so ridiculous. Maybe the NHS needs to create a book or pamphlet called 'Don't give your 1 year old a kettle'. What is next?! Out of the bath and into the tumble dryer? Swimming lessons by dropping a new born in a pond and hoping survival instincts kick in? You know what, nothing would surprise me anymore!


  1. Ella you know this fill me with utter dread and disgust, I just about think I've heard every shade of stupid and then- oh no, there's more! You do start to see why the ridiculous health and safety notices and protocols exist but OMG how hard is it to have some common sense!? My heart breaks for both poor kids

    1. I know it's terrible. I just knew that as soon as I posted it you would be the first to shout from the rafters! You are correct on all points! Morons! Thanks for the comment Gem!

  2. I used to work for a lawnmower company many years ago we had to put stickers showing in pictures and words not to put them above your head when switched on. After a adult male had cut their head open trying to trim a hedge with one. Stupidity of people is unlimited

    1. 'Stupidity of people is unlimited'! Love it! So so true!

  3. My son got scalded at 11.5 months. It was 9% and need skin grafts. He is now 13 and we are still dealing with the scars. It amazes me that people are still allowed tea at playgroups!!! It's so bloody dangerous. I never knew how dangerous till it happened to me!!

    1. Accidents happen. I have a scar on my chest from a coffee incident as a toddler. Kids will be kids but why people give them the loaded gun I don'r know!

  4. Who leaves a baby sat on a counter even if there is NOT a stove and kettle?!?! I've never once sat my kid on the counter let alone LEFT him on a counter.

    Also wouldn't boiled water melt balloons?

    1. I asked those questions over and over!!

      As for the water balloons. We couldn't work it out either! It was just odd!

  5. Do these parents not know basic first aid? Why were the kids not being treated by the parents in the meantime whilst waiting for the ambulance? Isn't it common knowledge to cool the burns? Mind you there are still people who pass on that stuff about putting butter on it, or the one that is allegedly from the fire brigade about putting some flour on a burn.

  6. And there is people out there who are sensible and have common sense but can't have children!


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