Journal Motherhood

Warning To All Parents – Please Check Your Water Temperature (Part 1)

Written by Her View From Home

**Editor’s note:  We are posting in an effort to help them raise awareness about the dangers in each of our homes.  Please only comment with support for this family.  Thank you!

For Part 2 Click here.

This story is not for meant for people to judge us or take pity on us. It is written in hopes to find any one that may learn from it. Anyone that has small children or knows someone with small children. This story could save a life. It could save someone else from the same pain and suffering Winston has had to endure.  Something as simple as checking your hot water temperature can prevent something so serious. Please spread the word to all!

December 18, 2013 will be a day I will never forget; a day that will affect my son forever.


It started out as any ordinary day. The two girls were off to school and Winston and I had a lot planned that day. There were several things going on  that winter. Our home was under construction and John (my husband) had been home working on the addition. We also had some issues with the furnace not working. Thank goodness John had placed a radiant heat system in our home when we built it. That was our heat source for the time being in our below freezing Nebraska temperatures.

“John our water is too hot,” I said just the night before as I had said many times before. Like so many other families, the hot water temperature was not set at the correct setting, which is 120 degrees.  Also a radiant heat system uses water as a source of heat.

 Little did I know my day was about to turn tragic.

Winston had been sitting up for quite some time now and was very stable. I had been putting him in a shallow bath without problems. He loved to play in the bath, as most kids do. Today I thought I would save time and put him in my bathroom bathtub while I got ready. My bathroom counter is two steps away, what harm could there be in that?

Warning To All Parents - Please Check Your Water Temperature (Part 1) www.herviewfromhome.comThe whirlpool tub in the master bathroom has an oblong waterfall faucet that forces out several gallons per minute. The faucet has one knob for hot water, one knob for cold water. He was splashing around having a good time, laughing. I was getting ready to put in my contacts (blind as a bat without them) and I heard the water come on.

It was like one of those nightmares when you can’t move or speak, but bad things are happening around you.

It seemed as if I were moving in slow motion but everything around me was happening so fast. From that point on my life went in to slow motion. From those very seconds, and still with every day today.

I turned to look and I see him drinking the water out of the faucet. And in my head I am thinking “it must be the cold water if he is drinking it.” I couldn’t really see because I didn’t have on my glasses. I pushed Winston to the side and touched the water with my hand. My hand instantly jerked back with a reddened area on it caused by the extreme temperature of the water. I picked up my son and brought him close to me.

His skin was peeling off of him; all over his body.

Warning To All Parents - Please Check Your Water Temperature (Part 1)

 Warning To All Parents - Please Check Your Water Temperature (Part 1)

I yelled “NO! No this isn’t happening! NO! I grabbed a towel and wrapped him and ran to the window. John was working on the addition that day and was right outside the window.  It took John a minute to realize that I was crying and and trying to yell through the window. “We need to go to the ER now!”

We are 15 miles away from any emergency room; a small town or a smaller town. The closest burn unit is over a two hour drive from our house. We opted to go to Franklin.  A fast decision that I think was assumed between the two of us. A good decision in hindsight because it was such a comfort to have the people we know taking care of us.  

The doctor said “40% of his body has been burned.”

With my nursing background I knew that 40% on a fragile baby could be life threatening. Right away the doctor called for a helicopter to fly Winston to the nearest burn unit; which was in Lincoln, Nebraska. Minutes felt like hours. It was taking forever for them to respond. John and I were not going to be able to ride with Winston in the helicopter because of the size. We had to send our son alone.

Editor’s Note:  In Part 2, Sara will tell us about guilt, her husband’s reaction to the event, the accusations of abuse and Winston’s recovery.  Click here for part 2

Please – everyone check your water temperature.  Here’s more about how to do that.


About the author

Her View From Home

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  • Sara, my thoughts and prayers were with you that day, although I honestly had no idea how serious Winston’s injuries were. I cannot not imagine what you were going through.

  • We know the family & this has been something we think about since it happened… whether it’s home, at Grandma’s, a hotel… such an unfortunate accident. My heart goes out to Winston to get better, but also Sara for peace of mind. Seeing your baby in pain hurts so much worse than any physical or mental pain…

  • I went through, and am still going through this very same type of incident. My baby was a month old to the very day, I left for my first day back at work. A few hrs into my shift i receive a call, my baby had been taken to the ER. She had been burned in a hot water bath by accident covering over half her lil body. She was flown by helicopter to St Elizabeth’s Burn Unit in Lincoln Ne. With only a 2% chance to live and after many close calls and skin grafts, she is now an 8 year old lil girl full of laughter and life. There is still a long road ahead but i thank God everyday for my strong lil miracle.

    • Wow! I am so glad u have responded to my sisters post. I will be thinking of your family as I think of my sisters everyday. I spead the word to my friends and their families to help prevent this from happening to others!

  • Thank you for sharing your story. I am ashamed to admit the number of times I’ve checked the box on my well baby forms confirming I have checked the water temperature at home, when in fact, I haven’t. Our water doesn’t “seem” too hot, and I simply wanted to avoid the lecture, and never imagined something like this could happen. I believe many moms, whether they’d admit it or not, have done the same. Well, moms all over the country will be checking their water temperatures today. We all put our children first and would stop at nothing to protect them, but we’re certainly not perfect. Prayers to your family and sweet little Winston. I can only imagine the guilt and sadness you carry, but I have no doubt you’re a wonderful, loving mother who would do anything for her children.

  • Thank you for sharing your story with us. A couple years ago, I sat a mug of very hot coffee down on a small table – and my 10 month old walked her little self over to it and dumped the entire mug onto herself. I’ve never heard a scream like that before in my life – and I never want to hear it again. While thankfully her injuries healed quickly, I felt like the worse mother…ever. Seeing my baby girl wrapped in cloth made my heart hurt worse than I’ve ever felt before. I’m so sorry for this terrible accident – but know (and try to take comfort) in the fact that it could have happened to any great mother. Sending thoughts, prayers and comfort your way…

  • Good for you Sara for speaking out I had no idea that his burns where that bad he looks so good now we are all very lucky everyday and we don’t even know how lucky we are to have our kids save at home tucked in there beds at night and you are a great mother and your kids are very lucky to have you as their mother

  • Thank you for your bravery! This could happen to any of us….I truly believe that lives will be spared thanks to your willingness to share your story.

  • What a share. Thank you so much for sharing your story. As has been said before, this is any one of us. None of us is perfect and we’ve all stepped or turned away for that second. Our family is thinking of and praying for you all. God bless and a speedy recovery!

  • prayers to you all, When I was 2 I grabbed the boiling hot pan of gravy on to me from the table when my mom had turned to grab something off the counter, my brothers and sisters could get their fast enough, luckily my mother remembered to put me under cool water and rip my clothes off carefully, using a huge box of baking soda to prevent scaring and blisters, 42 yrs later I have faint scars on my chest but the scars in my mind are still there. my heart goes out to you all. this is a lesson of awareness to us all. thank you

  • Oh Sara!! I had no idea of any of this. In reading this I am in tears. How horrible for your whole family.I hope things are better for all of you, you are all in my thoughts and prayers.

  • My thoughts are with your little guy, you and your family. Your story will help others who may not know or have ever checked their water temps. We are parents and many things can happen in a split second out of our control. We are also human and with that many bad things may happen to us or loved ones but it in no way should anyones judgement of you and your situation make you feel quilty or that if only this or that. You in the moment did what most of us have done or will do. All you should be doing is taking care of your baby the best you can. Im sorry this has happened and pray that this gets better for you all. None of us are perfect and I hope the ones who have judged you wrongly remember this when something bad happens to someone they love accidently!!! My thoughts and prayers to you all!! Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Nothing is scarier than your child being injured no matter your background you are mom and dad first. I know that we and other people blame ourselves in circumstances beyond our control when it is happening. It is only after the event that we blame for no better reason but to try and understand what has happened. I know you and your family, you are strong and very much a loving family! And because of this your son will be strong and get through this as well. I am grateful from my lips to Gods ears that Winston is safe and recovering lots of love your way. XOXO

  • Sara & John, so glad you have shared Winston’s story. I hadn’t imagined how it looked in the beginning of all of this. He looks amazing now and you do a wonderful job taking care of him everyday! This is certainly one of those things that could happen to so many people. You are both wonderful parents and I pray for peace and comfort for all of you! This would be such a difficult thing to go through. <3

  • Oh Sara! It’s been years since I saw you. After reading your story and seeing the pictures, I wish I could reach through my phone and hug you. I am giving my daughter who is 20 mo your hug instead. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

  • You know Sara, Winston is always in my prayers! I love him so much… my only nephew. I wish I could have taken all the hurt away from him. Like I feel about one of my own children, I would rather of been the one burned. He is such a strong baby boy! I’m a true believer in, “He has a plan” for all of us! Even when it doesn’t seem fair. Just continue to trust Him & understanding will come. Winston is so beautiful, something tells me this accident made him forever beautiful inside too…. Keep smiling baby Winston, Aunt Heidi loves you!

  • Wow! I knew the story, but I didn’t realize how bad the burns were. I’m so proud of you for sharing your story. God bless you and the family.

  • The response from Winston’s story has been beyond what I expected. Thank you all for your words. And thank you for helping to spread the word about hot water safety. I truly am grateful for Her View From Home for sharing this. And I want everyone to know that your comments are helping this mama to heal mentally. Thank you all so much!

  • My daughter receives second and third degree burns when she tried to crawl across a hot stove 2 1/2 years ago. I know first hand what you are going through. Both arms to her elbows and all but one pinky and one thumb were burnt. Thanks to much prayer and wonderful doctors she only has a tiny scar about an inch long. Rub aquafur on your little one every day. You can get it at Walmart. It is a white tub with a blue lid. Thanks to it and God her skin healed faster and shocked her doctor. I will be praying for you and your husband both as you walk this road together.

  • Sending prayers to little Winston……Thank you so much for sharing this everyone. A situation very similar to yours happened in our extended family 30 some years ago……and our nephew ended up in the Burn Center in Lincoln also. These types of accidents happen so fast, even the very BEST mother or father in the world can’t keep them from happening! Stay strong in your faith and God will heal the rest!

  • So my son got scald burns 6 months old a 40 %t 3rd. Degree the pics describe him to a tee thank you thank you for putting this out there next month is scald awareness month lets show support for all burn victims 🙂 #TeamWinston #TeamHayden

  • I know many of these comments were from earlier in the year…i just came across this…i hope this baby boy is doing better. this happened to my grandma who loves children. she was boiling water and tomatoes to make a sauce. she added the ingredients to a blender and as it blended the boiling water with tomatoes landed on top of my cousin who was about 2 at the time and it burned him badly and he was taken to the hospital of course. Can’t remember how long he stayed there. she was accused of abuse as well and we all know that my grandma would NEVER…EVER have done that on purpose. my cousin is now 18 and you can’t even tell anything happened to him. i’m sharing this story because I want Winston’s mom to know that there is hope and that he recover perfectly well. thank you for sharing this story with us. best wishes and many blessings!