One of Jessica’s twin daughters was burnt when she was 18 months old after boiling water accidentally splashed onto her shoulder and face.

Jessica’s daughter was 18 months old when she was accidentally scalded with hot water in an accident in the kitchen. Jessica had boiled water to sterilise her twin daughter’s dummies and placed the dummies and water in a small pot on the kitchen worktop. Jessica’s daughter flipped the pot and boiling water splashed onto her shoulder and face.

Jessica and her husband called an ambulance for their daughter. Whilst waiting for the ambulance to arrive, they applied cool, running water to the burns. As they had 2 other children at home, they went to a neighbour to ask for help with childcare. The neighbour took their eldest child to school and looked after their other daughter until help arrived. Jessica and her family lived in a rural area which meant the ambulance took “over half an hour” to arrive.

In addition to the ambulance, an air ambulance helicopter was also dispatched for Jessica’s daughter. However, it was decided that the helicopter would be too “distressing” for Jessica’s daughter due to the noise, so she was taken to hospital in the ambulance instead.

Once they arrived at the hospital, Jessica remembers feeling a sense of shock and finding it hard to think straight. She also found it difficult as this was the first time her twin daughters had been separated, and she worried about how they would manage without each other. Jessica was pleasantly surprised at how well her daughters coped whilst they were separated, she said her other daughter “enjoyed going to the childminders” and managed “much better” than she originally thought she would.

Jessica and her daughter stayed in hospital for 2 days before they were sent home. When they arrived home, Jessica put her daughter to bed but sensed that something “wasn’t right”. In the middle of the night she started to become unwell so they drove back to the hospital. Jessica’s daughter had picked up a strep infection in hospital and needed to stay in hospital for a week, with a further 2 weeks of outpatient appointments every day.

Jessica’s daughter was “afraid of the bath” for a few months after she was burnt. Jessica thinks this is because of the negative associations her daughter held about the bath, such as when running water was applied to her burns after the accident. The bath was introduced again slowly and over time Jessica’s daughter remembered that “being in the bath is a fun thing”. Jessica said it was important that her daughter was allowed to go “at her own pace” as she “absolutely loves the bath again now”.

Jessica’s advice to other parents experiencing similar situations is that “with time it will get easier” and to “be kinder on yourself”.

In time, Jessica was able to accept that accidents happen.

Age at interview 44

Jessica told us that her confidence as a parent was knocked after her daughter was burnt.

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Jessica hopes that speaking to her daughter about scars will help her to realise that they are normal and everyone has them.

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It took Jessica’s daughter a long time to feel comfortable in the bath again after she was burnt.

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Jessica’s daughter picked up an infection whilst she was being treated in hospital.

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Jessica was worried about how her twin daughters would cope being separated when one of them was burnt and needed to stay in hospital.

Age at interview 44