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Child Abuse

Child Scalding

02/28/2005

Question:

I`ve been wrongfully accused of child abuse. I left the bathroom for two or three minutes and had my 7 year old put the 1 1/2 year old into the tub of water which only had approx. 2 inches of water. Thinking that he was helping me, he had turned on the hot water by mistake which resulted in the child receiving 3rd degree burns from the knees down. Despite my 7 year olds testimony on the day of the accident I`ve been accussed of intentionally holding this child down in a standing position to scald her. I understand the accusation because the burns were circumfernced, and no splash marks, and a small part of a heel had scarring, but there weren't any bruises or any other sign of neglect or child abuse. I have never been accused of child abuse before in the 7 years as a parent. What I`ve been questioned the most about is why didn`t I hear her crying, honestly I cannot explain it, she didn`t cry, I came into the bathroom and she was huddled against the far corned of the tub away from the faucet and was closing her eyes as if she was about to pass out. Later when she was rushed to the hospital she was alert and still calm. I have no rational answer to give to these people about why she did not cry out in pain. My biggest concern is the the "theory" of the burning, how is it possible to hold a 30lb+ child in a standing positon and burn them up to their knees when the child response would be to buckle their legs, which means I would have had to have restrained her lower legs which were burned. How is that possible? I was not burned, which means I was not where near the hot water. Because of these charges my four children have been removed from my home for the last 6 months and I am waiting to go to trial in May to prove my innocence. I`ve researched and have tried to find every logical reasoning, without much success. This was an accident, the father of the child (not my own) knows it was, but despite his testimony, my sons, and logical evidence in our eyes, our fight continues uphill at the moment. This accident was my fault, I never should have left the child unattended, and for that I do not totally fault SRS for taking my kids into custody for a short time, but I do fault them for working with the police and ignoring the facts based upon one medical doctors opinion.

Answer:

It sounds like you're asking for a specific diagnosis or an opinion regarding these allegations, which is more than I can provide online. Only a detailed history and physical exam by a healthcare professional along with investigative findings can provide enough information to make a specific diagnosis.

If this opinion of abuse is based on the opinion of a sole medical provider you may request another opinion.

For more information:

Go to the Child Abuse health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Robert Shapiro, MD
Professor of Clinical Pediatrics
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati