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Baby injured at childminders - advice needed please

(213 Posts)
EmilyD2012 Thu 25-Apr-13 14:03:05

My DS (10mo) returned from the childminders on Tuesday evening suffering from sunburn. Overnight his face swelled up badly, by Wednesday morning his face was horrific - bright red and he couldn't open his left eye because it was so swollen. We took him to A&E and were told he was most likely suffering an allergic reaction to something or severe sunburn.

After giving him antihistemines and pain relief we were discharged and his face slowly started to deflate. Yesterday afternoon his skin started to blister and, by the evening, was weeping constantly. I took him to the doctors who said that he was suffering from serious sunburn to the face. I asked the childminder how long he had been out in the sun for and she said it had been 30 minutes at most. The doctor disputed this and said that it was very unlikely to have such a dramatic reaction to just 30 minutes in the sun. It is only April, after all.

The childminder is a friend of mine and has always been brilliant with my DS (she has a baby the same age). No part of me thinks that she would have deliberately let him come to any harm. That said, the last 48 hours have been horrendous. Every time I look at my baby my heart breaks. His face is a mass of blisters and open wounds. His left eye looks like it could bruise. I've been given hydrocortisone cream to treat the skin but every time I touch him he screams in pain. Last night I put him to bed and wept.

Today, the childminder came round and saw for herself what a terrible state he is in. I didn't want to make her feel worse than she no doubt already is, but equally felt it was important for her to see that I wasn't exaggerating when I contacted her from the doctors yesterday.

I just don't know what to do. Some of my friends say that such a careless act is unforgivable and I should never leave my DS with her again. Others are more forgiving and say that, after seeing him, she has surely learnt her lesson.

Any advice at all would be greatly appreciated. What would you do?

Thank you x

CajaDeLaMemoria Thu 25-Apr-13 19:18:53

My little sister got burnt when she was 6 months old. SS had her, and left her outside for 2 hours. It was may, I think, not too hot. Her face swelled up hugely, and then collapsed. It looked liked she'd been in a fire.

She went in an ambulance, and the doctors tried burn treatments and creams and she had an oxygen mask. They concluded that she'd had a horrific reaction to sunburn, and needed to avoid it at all costs. Babies and sunburn don't mix well.

She'd properly scream and sob when we had to cream her sad she is better now though, no scars, and she doesn't burn badly anymore.

I guess babies just aren't meant to get burnt.

ReetPetit Thu 25-Apr-13 19:20:32

sorry this has happened to your ds op sad it must be awful for you both. it does sound a very odd thing to happen though - could your ds have some sort of auto immune issue going on? or some other undiagnosed allergy?
had you given the cm suncream to put on him? did she say she had/hadn't put any on him? how long did she say she was outside with him?
sorry for all the questions but it does sound highly unusual to react in this way to sun. It was hot on tues but not scortching hot. If your cm had taken your ds on a day trip in the summer and not used sun cream i could kind of understand this but i'm assuming she wasn't out all day and it wasn't hot enough, imo to cause such severe sun burn unless she has been grossly negligent (sp?) and quite literally left him out in it.
also strange that her own dd was sun burnt. Where did she say she was with them?

If this happened to my ds and I was sure it was caused by the childminders lack of care (ie, not a reaction to cream/not another health issue) then i would terminate the contract as i would feel the trust had gone but i do think there may be another issue at play here. I would be pressing the doctors for more testing if this were my ds and if they are definately saying it;s sunburn i would want to know how many hours he would have to have been out in it to react so badly

redwellybluewelly Thu 25-Apr-13 19:20:39

I am sorry for your son, that sounds absolutely awful.

I just wanted to say that our DD has quite sensitive skin, on Sunday we were out in the afternoon, it was warm, she had suncream on her face (borrowed from a friend) and a hat as well as long sleeves and jeans. The next day her entire chin was scaley and weeping, I can only conclude that it was the different brand of suncream.

On Wednesday when it was sunny but milder she was outdoors for five hours, again with her usual suncream and a hat. No burning, no issues.

AllThatGlistens Thu 25-Apr-13 19:22:06

Thinking on it, yes, people absolutely get caught out on mildly sunny days and get burnt, but she's a childminder, how was she not aware of the effects on sun on young children's skin?

Surely she's had experience in looking after mindees in warm, sunny weather? There's just no excuse sad

ProphetOfDoom Thu 25-Apr-13 19:26:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

littlebitofthislittlebitofthat Thu 25-Apr-13 19:27:01

I hope that he is better soon.

At the risk of being flamed you should put sun screen on him before you pass him over go the cm, if you want him to wear it. I am a childminder and I don't apply sunscreen. It's in my policies.

I try to make sure that the kids have limited exposure to the sun, I have a large shady garden. But I cannot guarantee that they won't get too much sun, because we will be outside much as possible.

If your child was playing with a water table he could have got deflected rays too.

I hope he is better soon, what a horrid thing for you both to have been through

ProphetOfDoom Thu 25-Apr-13 19:29:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 25-Apr-13 19:31:47

'but she's a childminder'

Her expertise in predicting the weather is no greater than anyone else. They don't teach that on a childminding course. So many people didn't realise how hot it was on Tuesday, at least half the kids at my DC's school were in winter uniform/coats etc.

I'm sure she is aware of the effects of sun on young children's skin, she may not have been aware of how warm/sunny it was.

If she was only out for half an hour, that could be; leave the house and walk to park (10 mins), play for a bit and then relaise it's actually much warmer than she thought, notice kids a bit pink and doesn't have suncream with her (10 mins), put back in the pram and walk home (10 mins).

Or she could have put suncream on him and it could be an allergic reaction.

ProphetOfDoom Thu 25-Apr-13 19:32:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ReetPetit Thu 25-Apr-13 19:33:50

also op - you say he returned home from the cm on tuesday evening - did she not call you to collect him when she noticed his weeping/blistering sunburn?? did you collect at normal time??

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 25-Apr-13 19:34:31

Why littlebit? That seems like a crazy policy!

ProphetOfDoom Thu 25-Apr-13 19:34:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 25-Apr-13 19:36:09

'It suggests prolonged exposure or some other cause.'

That's pretty much what everyone is saying.

ReetPetit Thu 25-Apr-13 19:36:42

i also don't apply my own sun cream, for the reasons listed here - you run the risk of allergic reactions! I asked parents to provide their own (labelled with childs name) and to apply before/at drop off.

I have burned, in March, in the UK, as an adult. I am extremely careful with DD as a result, even though her skin is better than mine.

The problem is that people who don't burn like me don't realise that it can be so severe and quick.

I'm also not keen on sunscreen on babies so poor DD was in the shade with a hat for the first year.

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 25-Apr-13 19:41:19

Would you apply the children's own suncreen though Reet? Say the parents rang you and said they'd forgotten to apply it that morning or hadn't realised how hot it was? Or it was a very hot day and it needed to be re-applied? Or they'd been in the paddling pool/water play and it had washed off? Or you'd wiped their face after food and it needed to be reapplied? Or any other of the 100 possible reasons suncream needs to be applied during the day.

ReallyBadBreath Thu 25-Apr-13 19:43:00

Why wouldn't you apply suncream as a CM? That's insane.

donttrythisathome Thu 25-Apr-13 19:43:35

It sounds awful, your poor baby.
I do think though that it doesn't necessarily show a lack of care on the part of your CM. The weather suddenly changed and I guess she just didn't either realise how it was, or thought a bit of brief exposure to April sun wouldn't be harmful. There are news stories about how overuse of suncream and keeping children in the shade are causing Vit D deficiency. Getting the balance right can be a minefield.

ReetPetit Thu 25-Apr-13 19:44:36

Yes Outraged. I do apply it - just don't provide it smile

littlebitofthislittlebitofthat Thu 25-Apr-13 19:47:30

Child protection issues. There are loads of schools and playgroups and childminders who don't.

It was covered in my training recently.

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 25-Apr-13 19:47:58

I think not providing it is fine, as long as you'll put it on when needed smile

efeslight Thu 25-Apr-13 19:49:16

Sounds terrible, hope he recovers quickly,
i was burnt very badly once, after i fell asleep on Brighton beach and had a similar reaction - deep red skin, then I started swelling up in different places...between the eyes so i looked like I'd been punched, then this went down and then other areas also swelled up, had 2 days off work and could hardly talk, so i can quite believe this is sunburn,
i also get coldsores after sun exposure so please avoid any contact at all with any carriers and keep a careful eye on the blisters when they burst

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 25-Apr-13 19:50:44

'Child protection issues'

That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard! What about protecting them from the sun?! Also I assume you change nappies? What about child protection then? Or is there a link between suncream and child abuse that I don't know about?

YoniRanger Thu 25-Apr-13 19:51:21

How is sun cream a child protection issue unless you are applying it where you shouldn't be?

I have honestly never heard anything so utterly stupid in all my life.

A childcare professional who changes nappies should be able to manage sun cream without becoming a peado.

I am stunned!

YoniRanger Thu 25-Apr-13 19:52:03

X posted with Outrage grin

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