Couple fight for answers after child sustains extensive burns at Alex creche
With medical bills piling up, an Alexandra couple are fighting to find out how their two-year-old son ended up with severe burns on his legs while at creche.
JOHANNESBURG - The parents of a two-year-old Alexandra boy who was severely burnt in a tub of boiling water at his creche have told Eyewitness News that his recovery has been long and painful.
According to the child's medical records, he sustained extensive burns to his legs and buttocks in January and is still battling to walk.
Police said that a teacher was arrested but was out on bail and they were now waiting for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to communicate the trial date.
Their nightmare started on 27 January, with a phone call from the creche principal who delivered the frightening message that their son was at the emergency ward in hospital.
His mother, who asked not to be identified fearing victimisation, said that the teacher claimed her two-year-old climbed into a tub containing boiling water after soiling himself at school.
“I asked the teacher what happened and she said she opened the hot water tap and left, when she came back, she found my son in the tub. But his feet were not burned. Now the story changed; when asked about his feet, she says she doesn’t know. She’s not telling the truth and I want her to tell the truth.”
He sits on a couch in between his mother and father in the family’s small one-bedroom apartment in Alexandra.
It’s a rainy day and the roof is leaking but there's no money for that now – this family has used all their savings on medical bills for their son, who will have to undergo more extensive operations and therapy in the coming months, and even the years ahead.
His mother points to the burns on the little boy's legs and he battles to bend his right leg, where the skin is stretched too tight.
She recalled how the school called her several hours after the incident.
She said they still did not know exactly what happened that day.
“We got there [at the creche] and he was wrapped in bandages while the teacher was with him. I then took my son home. He was crying non-stop, so I took him to Masakhane Clinic to undress his bandages; the nurse undressed him and that’s when I saw the burns were just deep. I asked the principal what we can do but she didn’t want to take my son to a private doctor.”
They stayed at Masakhane Clinic, where the boy stayed for two painful weeks. The little boy was then discharged even though he couldn't walk properly.
His father said the emotional scars of his trauma were clear for all to see.
“He is traumatised, he doesn’t want to bath, he is so moody. He is afraid to play with other kids.”
While the family's medical bills continue to pile up, the mother had to quit her job to take care of her son at home on a full-time basis.
The family are not only pursuing criminal charges against the individual teacher, but they also want to force the school to account for what happened before another child is hurt in the same way.
VIDEO: Crèche teacher accused of burning toddler with hot water