The Short of It
During Burn Awareness Week, a Washington state family wants parents to hear the story of how their little boy was badly burned in their kitchen, so this horrible injury doesn't happen to another child.
While the Delgadillos were preparing dinner one night, 4-year-old Derek tried to protect his baby brother from pulling a pot of boiling water off the stove in the family's kitchen. But the brave big brother ended up spilling the pot on himself.
"He told us he wanted to push the pot forward so baby wouldn't be able to get burned. It came over, and it spilled down on his right side, little bit over on his shoulder, down his arm, center of the chest," Derek's father Frank explained to King 5 TV.
Now, third-degree burns cover 15 percent of his body, and the boy has spent three weeks in the hospital recovering from his injuries.
Lesson learned, says Frank, adding, "In the kitchen, especially one parent's over here and another parent's trying to take care of other things, and sometimes we're not fully aware of everything that's going around or happening. If you have something hot, keep it as far away as you can from your children."
In fact, Frank suggests keeping kids out of the kitchen entirely while you are preparing food. Dr. Tham Pham, who treated Derek and sees hundreds of burn injuries like his, takes it a step further, suggesting kids should never be allowed to play with pots and pans.
"If you let your kids play with pots and pans, and then later on you let your kids see them on top of the stove, they might want to go reach for them because they identify it as a toy," Pham told King 5 TV.
Our home is an open concept, so the kitchen flows into the family room, where my children play while I'm cooking meals. They're always running in and out of the kitchen, and it seems nearly impossible to expect them to stay out of the room completely. And although I always place pots and pans on the back burners and discuss the danger of touching the stove with my kids, that's not a foolproof plan.
This story definitely drives the point home that I need to be more aware of my little ones' whereabouts, even if my attention is on preparing dinner. Thank you to the Delgadillo family for this important reminder. Here's hoping Derek can go home soon and continue to be the most awesome big brother ever, but under safer circumstances!