With the heat in some areas of the country rising to well over 100 degrees, we sometimes forget how risky it can be to go barefoot. That’s especially true for children, who during the warmer months spend countless time shoeless between the pool, the beach, or even a couple of hours fancy-free at a park. Parents know that surfaces such as blacktop, concrete, and even metal can reach scorching temperatures when sitting in direct sun, but when water is involved, they are often overlooked. A Seattle dad now knows all-too-well about the dangers of letting his son go shoeless after his toddler stepped on a scorching area at a local splash pad and ended up with second-degree burns.
Andrew Sechrist, who is a father of four, took his crew to a local park, hoping to make the most out of their summer.
The family made the trek to the Georgetown Playfield on July 26. “Everything was going well for about 15 minutes,” the dad tells CafeMom. But then his 17-month-old son, Jackson, suddenly started wailing
“I saw Jackson off to the side, about five feet from a water toy. I ran over, thinking he had fallen, to console him,” Sechrist explains. “I picked him up and took him to a different section of the water area, but he was still inconsolable.”
Sechrist says that he sat his son down and tried to dry him off, but something was wrong when he got to Jackson’s feet. “I could feel the heat coming off of them,” he says. “I looked down and noticed that the skin had basically melted on the bottoms of both of his feet.”
Jackson had been walking across a metal electrical grate, which in the sun had risen to temperatures well over 100 degrees.
In an interview with Q13 Fox, Sechrist told reporters that his son’s feet “were white” and in horrible condition.
Sechrist explained that the grate was on the ground close to the splash pad, and when Q13 Fox tested the temperature of the grate the next day, around the same time, they found that it had reached to about 130 degrees.
“Just putting my hand on here like that, I can’t keep it here for half a second, and my 1-1/2-year-old son walked across [it],” Sechrist told them.
Schrist told his wife to take his other three kids home while he rushed Jackson to Seattle Children’s Hospital.
Sechrist tells us that the doctors at Seattle Children’s gave his son medicine for the pain but ultimately doctors decided that the tot should be transferred to Harborview Medical Center to be seen by a specialist in the burn unit there. At Harborview, doctors told Sechrist that Jackson had developed second-degree burns. They drained Jackson’s blisters and bandaged his legs, and they told the dad that the little boy would have to be monitored overnight.
“All in all, it was an extremely difficult 24 hours for a 17-month-old kid,” Sechrist says.
Jackson was finally discharged on Friday morning, but Sechrist told Q13 that his son will have to wear bandages up to his knees for the next 10 to 15 days.
“If I could switch places with him, I would in a heartbeat,” he lamented. And in a statement made to CafeMom, Sechrist says that his son “is recovering well. [He] was able to put some weight on his feet last night.
“My whole purpose of sharing this story is to get the word out to other parents so that this doesn’t happen to anyone else,” he adds.
CafeMom reached out to Seattle Parks and Recreation, but as of this reporting has yet to receive a comment about the incident.