Mom’s Quick Thinking After Daughter Scalded Prevented More Severe Burns

MAYWOOD, Ill. (CBS) — What would you do if your child got scalded by boiling hot water? Local doctors say you need to know, because it happens more often than you think.

A suburban 3rd grader got second- and third-degree burns that way earlier this month, and she’s still in pain in the hospital.

As CBS 2’s Pamela Jones reports, quick thinking by her parents might have helped the situation from getting worse.

It’s tough to imagine 8-year-old Sydney Mleczko screaming and writhing in pain, but just over a week ago, boiling water spilled in her lap. It burned right through her skin.

“I started to feel like I was, like, on fire and then I started to scream,” Sydney said.

She was eating with her family at a suburban restaurant when a pot of steaming hot water for tea placed on the table ended up turning over.

“She was screaming and screaming and screaming,” her mother Dori Mleczko said.

Sydney’s parents pulled her pants off to cool her down.

“I didn’t care that we were in the middle of a restaurant, or what. They just came off,” her father Jeff Mleczko said. “At that point, though, she already … I could feel some of the skin, like, blistering already.”

Her mom’s training as a nurse kicked in. She ran to the kitchen and grabbed some ice and cold water.

“I grabbed an iced tea pitcher and just filled it with water and sat her by the ice and … (held) her like a baby and I was pouring the ice and the water, just continually dumping it,” Dori said. “You have to stop the burning process. Even though the top of the skin could be dry, that burning is still going on underneath in the layers below, so if you can stop that burning, you can save a lot of damage.”

Sydney’s doctor at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood said that was good thinking on Dori’s part.

“To try to cool it down is important … particularly when she has clothing that has hot liquids in it, that heat is still transmitting heat to her wound,” Dr. Richard Gamelli said.

Now, Sydney’s well enough to play board games to ease her pain.

“It makes me forget that I got burned,” Sydney said.

Sydney is hoping to go home, maybe as soon as Thursday if her doctors determine she doesn’t need surgery.

Her doctor said 40 percent of Loyola’s burn unit patients are children. Most of them were burned with hot water or food.

  • JeanSC

    I’ve been an advocate of ice put right away on burns for a long time. My mother was an RN, but I didn’t learn it from her. It just seems like basic physics to me: since heat is causing the burn, removing the heat will interfere with the burning process. Even if you need to see an MD for the burn, putting ice on it immediately is still the best first aid.

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  • Who's WHO

    What about rubbing alcohol, or citric acid? Hydrogen peroxide?

    • Arjay

      You’re an idiot!

    • Jaymie

      Rubbing alcohol absorbs into the system and can poison a child. It can also cause further damage to the already burning skin. Definitely do not use rubbing alcohol. If it was all you had, put it in a ziploc bag and hold against the skin.

      Water. If you absolutely don’t have water be mindful and use what’s on hand.

      Even my young kids know to grab a bag of frozen vegetables if they have to. If there’s snow outside you can use it. If the only water available may be contaminated (lake/river/pond) bag it. The risk if infection is higher when the skin is damaged.

  • Former IL Resident

    Rinse ice with cold water first……..Ice will stick to the burn if you don’t rinse the ice with cold water first though…..I had a perculator coffee pot fall off the stove with steaming hot coffee spilled all over my stomach and ice with cold water helped soothe the pain…..It will also prevent a massive amount of scars too!

  • Arjay

    I was a burn victim in an explosion and fire in the work place 30 years ago. I still remember it vividly. The treatment,called debriding, which is essentially removal of the dead skin, can last for days and weeks and is the most horrific pain you can imagine. I use to scream and cry when I was having it done and I was an adult who understood the need. Imagine children having to endure this. Please safeguard your kids and yourselves from fire and burns any way you can.

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