A mum is warning parents about the dangers of hot pavement after her toddler was severely burned on his feet. The 18-month-old, who lives in Arizona where the temperatures can soar during the summer months, snuck out the back door of his parents’ Phoenix home.
The unsuspecting parents only discovered what had happened when they heard his painful screams as he burned the soles of his feet on the scalding sidewalk. The little boy suffered 2nd degree burns from the pavement.
While the traumatising incident occurred in America, it’s important for Australian parents to heed the warning, especially as our temperatures can also skyrocket at any time of the year in certain areas of Australia.
Tender baby feet burn so quickly
Mason’s mum and dad were not aware that their son had gone onto the hot pavement barefoot until they heard his screams from outside. His parents took him to the burn center in Arizona, feeling powerless as his little feet started to redden and blister.
Mason was diagnosed with 2nd degree burns and his wounds were covered in bandages. Mason’s mom told the New York Post it was just awful.
“Yeah, it’s traumatising. He was in so much pain, and there was nothing we could do. It was horrible. I felt sick the whole day. Those baby tender feet – man, they just burn so fast,” she said.
“I just don’t want this to happen to anybody else if we can avoid it.”
Fortunately, Mason was sent home to heal after he was treated at the burn center and is recovering quickly, according to his mother, the Post reported.
An important reminder about hot surfaces during the summer months
It’s unknown the exact temperature outside on the day Mason stepped on the pavement barefoot but in Arizona, temperatures can soar to 43.3⁰C during the summer months (June, July and August).
However, even much lower temperatures can cause extremely hot pavement and dangerous conditions for those walking barefoot, especially toddlers with tender feet (as well as pups with tender paws).
In Australia, there have been a few instances where temperatures have risen about 40⁰C or close to.
Not the first time
Mason isn’t the first toddler to suffer severe burns from hot pavement. A little boy in Ispwish experienced a very similar injury in 2018 after playing barefoot at a local park, according to ABC.net.au.
In 2019, a 14-month-old toddler from Perth also suffered horrific 2nd-degree burns and 3rd-degree burns to his feet after walking on scorching pavement, according to News.com.au.
Be aware of how dangerous hot pavement can be
According to experts, asphalt and concrete pavement can be up to 4⁰C to15.6⁰C hotter than the actual ambient temperature too which is a scary thing to think about.
This can also be the case with sand – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to the beach and burned my feet trying to walk through the hot sand without thongs on.
Another source of skin burns during the hotter months includes car seat belt buckles, metal slides, swings and any other metal accessories.
Tips to prevent pavement burn
- Always wear protective footwear during the summer and get your children in the habit of putting shoes on before leaving the house.
- Be aware of the various surfaces that can cause burns including pavement, asphalt, and tarmac at playgrounds. Also sand, and pool decking.
- It is best to walk pets early in the morning or late in the evening when the asphalt and sidewalks are at their coolest.
- Lock your doors, including doggie doors, so little ones don’t escape without your knowledge into the unforgiving hot sun.
- As a rule of thumb, if you place the back of your hand on the pavement or concrete and it is too hot for you, then it is too hot for bare feet and your pet’s paws.
What to do if your child suffers a burn
According to The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, toddlers are most at risk of hot surface burns and scalds because of their increased mobility and natural curiosity.
Tiny Hearts Education shared this important first aid for burns information about what to do if your child is ever burned.
- Call 000 if the pain is severe or if the burn is to the genitals, hands, face, throat, or airways.
- Immediately hold the affected area under cool running water for 20 minutes.
- Do not apply ice, lotion, creams or food items (such as egg whites, toothpaste or butter) to the wound.
- Cover the wound with a loose nonstick dressing or with cling wrap.
If the burn is minor and hasn’t caused the skin to blister or break, you shouldn’t need to see a doctor. But for all other burns, or if you’re particularly concerned, seek medical assistance.