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

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Sydney Mleczko, 8, suffered second- and third-degree burns when boiling water for tea spilled in her lap at a suburban restaurant while she was dining with her family. (Credit: CBS)

Sydney Mleczko, 8, suffered second- and third-degree burns when boiling water for tea spilled in her lap at a suburban restaurant while she was dining with her family. (Credit: CBS)

Pamela Jones Pamela Jones
Pamela Jones serves as a general assignment reporter for CBS 2...
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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.

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