Baby Care

Parents Recall Horror after their 10-Month-Old Burned by Bleach at Daycare

Ellie and Darryl Nilssen can still vividly remember the chilling screams they heard when they pulled into their son’s daycare centre. It wasn’t until they got inside that their realised they were coming from their son,10-month-old Blake. 

Blake had been left unsupervised at his daycare, Little Dreams, in Aberdeen, Scotland. The 10-month-old managed to pull himself up on a bucket of water and bleach that was left out. The liquid spilled all over Blake’s body as the little one screamed out in pain. 

Daycare failed to call ambulance

Little Dreams daycare did not call an ambulance after Blake was burned by bleach. Instead, they covered the burns in paper towels which made the burns worse as it ripped the blisters away from his fragile skin. 

The daycare called Blake’s parents to pick him up but they didn’t explain just how serious it was. When Ellie and Darryl arrived to pick him up, they discovered their son with second-degree burns. They rushed him to the hospital immediately where he was placed in a special shower for over an hour to monitor the pH levels of the affected areas. 

A plastic surgeon then burst the blisters and treated them with aloe vera gel before bandaging affected areas.

Overwhelming smell of bleach

The horrific incident occurred in November 2021 but it is something that Ellie and Darryl will never forget. Blake’s injuries have healed physically but the tot still has a fear of water. 

“There are no words to describe the fear we felt at that moment,” Ellie recalls. “He was screaming, his skin was red all over and there was an overwhelming smell of bleach with liquid running down his legs and arms from burst blisters… it was chilling.”

One of the things that stung the most, apart from seeing their little boy in so much pain, is the fact that Little Dreams attempted to downplay their failings.

“At the time I said this incident was indefensible and I still feel that way,” Ellie told The Sun.I am still disappointed in the nursery’s reaction to everything. Even when presented with evidence – like photos of my burned and blistered baby – they tried to deny or downplay their failings.”

Parents paid thousands for damages

Ellie and Darryl filed for legal action in order to get the answers they so desperately deserve. Earlier this week, the parents were paid thousands of dollars in compensation which will go into an account for Blake to access once he turns 16. 

Baby burned by bleach
Source: Digby Brown Solicitors

The devastated mum insisted a pay-out was never the goal of their legal action – they simply wanted answers and for Little Dreams to take responsibility for what happened to their son. 

“It took a legal action to get the answers we deserved and get Little Dreams to hold their hands up. We’re grateful to everyone who has helped us from friends and family, to NHS staff who treated Blake’s injuries to our legal team who helped hold the nursery accountable”, Ellie added.

“As a family we now just want to try and put this painful episode behind us and look forwards so we request that our privacy is now respected.”

Investigations revealed that daycare staff was not properly trained in how to deal with such an event and staff were scrutinised for failing to call an ambulance. 

Neil Davidson, Partner at Digby Brown Solicitors in Aberdeen, who was in charge of Ellie and Daryl’s legal battle for their son said:

“No parent should have to worry about the welfare of their child when placing them into the care of professionals so with this legal action we knew there were three key priorities. This included providing Blake with access to specialist medical care, providing Ellie and Daryl with answers and shedding light on negligent care to improve standards for everyone.

I sincerely hope parents and care providers everywhere consider the gravity of what happened in this very harrowing ordeal and take steps to ensure such incidents are never repeated.”

Tragically, daycare injuries and deaths do happen but we hope no child ever has to go through what Blake and his family have gone through. 

We’ve shared a story in the past of a child who was repeatedly bitten at daycare. Another infant was killed after her daycare provider gave her cold medication which caused an overdose. 

We’ve also shared stories of children being left on their daycare school bus, as well as escaping from daycare and being discovered on a busy highway. 

We don’t share these stories to shock, but to remind parents just how important it is to make sure your child’s daycare is up to the national standards. 

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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