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What are the Legal Rights and Liabilities When a Baby is Scalded as Punishment?

By Thomas Hastings, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network


While a child is under the care of a babysitter, parent, grandparent, day care center, school, or other person or entity, the child should be provided with a safe and clean living environment. Unfortunately, there are many inexperienced or inpatient child care providers out there who use means to punish or discipline a child that can cause serious personal injuries to the child. The fact that certain disciplinary acts have a long history do not make them safe, legal, or morally right. Using scalding water as a form of discipline can lead to serious personal injuries. In addition, the person, who uses this technique of discipline, may face criminal charges especially in situations in which the abused child is hospitalized or otherwise needs medical care and treatment.

Scalding a child with hot bath or faucet water is abuse and neglect. Furthermore, it is not an effective way to discipline or teach a child good behavior from unacceptable behavior. The burns and scars that often times result from such discipline can cause a life time of physical and / or emotional injuries.

If a child is scalded by accident or on purpose by a day care center, school, neighbor, babysitter, or relative, there may be a civil case to pursue on behalf of the injured child. These cases can be quite complex and a Child Injury Lawyer should be consulted for advice and legal representation. Factors considered by the Child Injury Lawyer will include: the property where the injury took place, the availability of liability or homeowner’s insurance, the extent of the injuries, the amount of the medical bills, the permanency of the injuries, the filing of criminal charges, and other factors.

If you know of a child who has been burned or scalded by this disciplinary technique, a call to the local police and / or State child welfare agency may be in order. The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Child Abuse and Neglect, Damages / Compensation, Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, Homeowner’s Insurance, and other topics. Get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

In Indianapolis, Indiana, a scalding incident was recently reported. A 2 year boy was admitted into Riley Hospital for Children with burn injuries that were allegedly caused by a scalding incident involving a babysitter. The child head was kept under scalding water for 2 minutes or so. This resulted in burn injuries to the face / head. The Indiana babysitter was charged with neglect of a dependent and aggravated assault. These crimes are both classified as felonies in the State of Indiana. See 2 Year Old Boy Suffers Injuries From Scalding Type of Discipline in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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