Toddler suffered horrific burns after accidentally climbing into scalding hot bath

Emma Coxshall's bandaged foot (Herfordshire Mercury / SWNS)

A three-year-old girl suffered life-changing burns after her bath’s thermostat broke and poured out scalding hot water.

Emma Coxshall with her parents mum Louise and dad Ché (SWNS)
Emma Coxshall with her parents mum Louise and dad Ché (SWNS)

Emma Coxshall had skin grafts to her feet and will need to have physiotherapy until she is 18 because of the injuries.

Her mum Louise Coxshall, 31, was tending to her baby in another room when she heard screaming from the bathroom.

The mother-of-six said: “She went ahead while I was checking the baby and in another few seconds I heard her screaming.

“I ran up and saw her in two or three inches of hot water. I pulled her out and stupidly pulled off her socks – not realising how hot it would be – and her skin just came off.”

The burn to Emma Coxshall's feet (SWNS)
The burn to Emma Coxshall’s feet (SWNS)

Emma received second-degree burns to most of her feet and underwent a skin graft after spending 10 days in the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Essex.

An inspection later revealed the thermostat in their B3Living housing association home, which was held in place by a small wire, had come loose.

This meant the water out of the tap was much hotter than displayed causing Emma’s horrific injuries.

The stay at home mum Mrs Coxshall, from Hoddesdon, Herts, said the house had been inspected weeks before and nothing was found to be wrong.

She said: “We called them and they were the ones who showed us it had slipped down.

“A little wire isn’t really a good safety precaution, it wouldn’t have taken a lot of force to knock that down.

“They sent us flowers and toys for my little girl, so they are aware of it being an issue.

“It was a terrible accident, but I would never have thought it would do something to that degree.”

The mum, who lives with husband Ché, appealed to other parents to make sure their thermostats are working before running their children a bath as it can have life-changing consequences.


She said: “She has just started to walk now, but she is petrified.

“Her right foot is bandage-free, but the scarring can take up to two years to go back to normal and could be permanent.

“The chances of further surgery are quite high, because children’s feet grow quite quickly and the skin graft doesn’t.

“She will have to go to hospital in Chelmsford until her early adulthood. Something that simple has caused us so much pain.”

The couple have five other children, Sam, eight, Abigail, seven, Hannah, four, Rebecca, two, and James, one.

The accident happened last month.

A spokeswoman for the housing association said: “B3Living are fully aware of the situation and have been working closely with the family during this distressing time.”

Emma Coxshall's bandaged foot (Herfordshire Mercury /  SWNS)
Emma Coxshall’s bandaged foot (Herfordshire Mercury / SWNS)

Speaking yesterday (tues) the mother-of-six said: “Parents need to check the water’s temperature before they let their kids anywhere near the bath.

“This accident has had tragic consequences for our family and I would hate to see anyone else go through the same trauma.

“Emma will have to have physiotherapy and scar treatment until adulthood because of it.

“It happened so quickly but its ramifications will last Emma entire life.

“I know most parents check anyway but it’s so important to double check the water is safe because children’s skin burns very easily.”

Emma said the water’s temperature should have been between 38 and 49 degrees but was probably hotter than 60 degrees because the thermostat broke.

She also criticised the housing association for not fitting a more substantial thermostat.


She said: “It is just held together with a flimsy piece of elastic and that is not good enough.

“Other ones have a piece of metal holding it in place which is a lot more substantial.

“We don’t know how hot the water was because we rushed Emma to hospital but they housing association sent her a card and flowers and are coming out to fit new taps so they clearly know they’re in the wrong.”

She also revealed that the family had to cancel a planned holiday to Disneyworld in Paris because of the accident.

She said: “All my kids are obsessed with Disney but we had to cancel because Emma was in hospital.

“She was over the moon about going and was devastated we couldn’t make it.

“We’ve probably lost more than £10,000 which is a huge amount of money for us.”

The family moved into their two-bed housing association house in February 2008.

Louise was tending to her son James, one, and daughter Rebecca, two, when she heard Emma screaming.

Louise is married to Che (correct), a website developer.


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