With summer approaching just around the corner, fire departments are warning families about the dangers of garden hoses left out in the blazing sun, which can heat water to dangerous temperatures.
On Monday, Las Vegas Fire and Rescue tweeted a photo of a 9-month-old toddler who experienced second-degree burns to 30 percent of his body when he came into contact with water from a hose that had been left sitting out. The child, from San Tan Valley, Arizona, was burned two years ago when his mother filled up a kiddie pool with a hose and accidentally sprayed him in the process.
The photo of the toddler shows most of his torso and face reddened from the scalding hot water, which caused a layer of skin to peel off from his right shoulder and stomach. According to the Burn Foundation, when water reaches 140 degrees, it can cause third-degree burns in just five seconds after coming in contact with the skin.
Tim Szymanski, public relations officer of Las Vegas Fire and Rescue, says he has posted the photo of Woodger every year since the accident to warn other families of the dangers of hoses in the sun.
Here in Las Vegas, a garden hose exposed to direct sunlight during summer can heat the water inside the hose (not flowing) to 130-140 degrees which can cause burns especially to children & animals. Let the water flow a few minutes to cool before spraying on people or animals. pic.twitter.com/FMkzEt27xl
— Las Vegas FireRescue (@LasVegasFD) June 4, 2018
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“The hose sits in the sun, and when the water that’s left in the hose sits like that, it heats it up,” Szymanski tells PEOPLE. “When people turn on the water they think the water will instantly be cold, but it isn’t, it actually could be extremely hot.”
In the hopes they can prevent other children from experiencing these painful burns, Las Vegas Fire and Rescue tweeted some suggestions for using the hose come summer time, like waiting for the water to flow out of the hose for a minute or more until it cools.
But this warning also goes for animals, who can burn just as easily as children if sprayed with hot water.
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“One lady told me that she accidentally killed her pet that way, she had a giant lizard, and she sprayed him with a hose,” Szymanski says. “The water was so hot that it killed him, so she knew this warning was true.”
Szymanski says many people have reached out to the department to thank them for the notice, since it was something they never thought about.
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“I just wanted to remind people not to pick up the hose and spray your dog, or if the kids get the water hose out and want to spray each other,” he says. “The water that first comes out of the hose for the first minute will be in excess of 130 degrees. On soft skin, like on a child, it can cause second-degree burns, just like you see in this picture.”
He adds: “Even preventing this for one child will make a difference.”