Tacoma, Wash. – A 9-month-old boy suffered second-degree burns when a bottle warmer was toppled over last Tuesday, his mother said.
Takari Lee said that her son, Jaxson, was at Children of Hope Child Care Center in Tacoma when she received a call from day care staff that she needed to meet them at the hospital immediately.
Jaxson, who turned 9 months old on Monday, now has severe burn marks across his face, shoulder and chest.
When Lee got the call, “I instantly freaked out. I started crying; I fell to the floor,” she said.
She said daycare staff told her Jaxson had reached a cord to the bottle warmer and tugged on it, causing the hot water to spill on him. The bottle warmer sits on top of a mini fridge in the children’s classroom.
Lee said that on that day, there were three children in the room, with two adults present.
"I'm not saying that these people definitely, deliberately did anything, but it could have been a side conversation that they were having that took their attention from what was important. And because of that, me and my child are going to have to suffer for who knows how long," Lee said.
Lee said that the center has a separate kitchen and that the bottle warmer should have been kept in there, out of reach of children.
She has sent her two older sons to the center for the past couple of years and said the staff treated them like their own children.
Now, that trust has been broken.
KIRO 7 visited the center Thursday, which is in a building owned by the Greater Christ Temple Church across the street. A pastor there said he hopes the boy makes a fast recovery, but he could not comment on the incident while it is under investigation.
Child Protective Services and the Washington Department of Early Learning are investigating what happened. A spokesperson for DEL told KIRO 7 their inspectors will make a site visit once CPS is finished with their work.
DEL, which oversees all child care facilities in the state, keeps online records for centers going back to 2010. Children of Hope has had no complaints in that time, and annual inspection results have shown they are in compliance with policies. The center has also maintained its license.
While there is no specific language in state law about bottle warmers, state code related to child care safety states one must keep hazardous objects out of the reach of children.