ORANGE (CBSLA.com) — “I freaked out completely. Just watching her fall in, my instinct immediately was to grab her.”
Grace Halvorsen says her family’s camping trip at Joshua Tree National Park took a terrifying turn.
They were there Memorial Day weekend when Halvorsen’s 21-month-old daughter, Mikaela, accidentally tripped into the fire pit.
Doctors at UC Irvine Health Regional Burn Center say the toddler is lucky. The third-degree burns on her back and second-degree burns to her hand will heal.
On Thursday alone, Dr. Victor Joe treated three children suffering from campfire burns.
“It could happen to all of us, it only takes a little moment of inattention or just turning away for a second for something like this to happen,” Joe said.
Officials say there are important safety tips to remember. For one, don’t bury coals in sand or dirt. Coals can smolder for 24 hours and sand locks in heat. To safely extinguish coals drench them in water and drench them again five minutes later.
If burned, don’t put ice on the skin. Rinse the burn with cool water for up to 10 minutes, then cover it with a cool wash cloth or towel.
And Mikaela’s parents say burn injuries can often be deceiving.
“She didn’t really display any pain, which is deceptive. So when we got her to the ER, they looked at her and were like this is extensive,” Grace Halvorsen said.
Nonetheless, the toddler’s prognosis during her follow-up appointment Thursday was a positive one. Mikaela is expected to make a full recovery. Her parents hope she won’t remember the incident, although they say it’s something they won’t ever forget.
“We can’t protect our kids from everything, but we will be more aware next time and not assume that the fire pit is cold,” her mother said.