Simon’s son was burnt when he was a few months old after a hot dummy case accidentally touched his back.

Simon’s son was burnt when he was a few months old. A hot dummy case accidentally touched his back whilst Simon was holding him and trying to open a stairgate. His son’s burn was placed under cool, running water and NHS 111 was called to ask for advice. The 111 operator advised Simon’s wife to take their son to the nearest hospital.

A few hours later, Simon’s wife and their son returned home from the hospital and his son had a large dressing on his back. He had been referred to another, more specialist, hospital for an appointment the next day. Simon looked after their other daughter whilst his wife took their son to the hospital. Whilst they were at the hospital, Simon remembers feeling a sense of shame that he had “marked” his son. He was also worried about how his wife was feeling and wondering if what had happened would impact their relationship.

The guilt Simon was experiencing intensified when he realised that his son’s burn would not “be gone in a week” and it would be there “permanently”. Since his son’s burn, Simon has spent more time “thinking about what could happen” and trying to be more “careful” with his children. Although he still wants his children to be able to take risks, he will sometimes think about “the worst case scenario”.

Simon said it took a few months before life started to settle down after his son’s burn. There were numerous hospital appointments, home visits from burns nurses, and occasionally time taken off work for appointments. In this time Simon was able to process what had happened, though he said the guilt was still “constant”. Each time Simon saw the burn, if his son was in the bath for example, he would be reminded of what had happened and this could be difficult for him.

Simon’s advice to other parents of children with burns, is to “take time to reflect”, “keep talking to your partner about it”, and “don’t bottle it up”.


Simon said he felt “paranoid” about what the hospital staff treating his son thought of him.

Age at interview 34

Simon said he felt more guilty when he learnt that his son’s burn would leave a permanent scar.

Age at interview 34

When Simon’s son was burnt, district nurses would visit their home to clean and redress the burn. He found it reassuring to see his son’s burn healing.

Age at interview 34

After his son was burnt, Simon felt that returning to work gave his family the space they needed to process what had happened.

Age at interview 34