Tennessee woman accused of scalding toddler's feet with hot water
Jennifer Vaughn, 53, has been charged with aggravated child abuse in Tennessee. (Rhea County Sheriff's Department)
WARNING: This story contains graphic images and details that may be disturbing to some readers
A woman in Tennessee has been charged with aggravated child abuse after she allegedly burned a two-year-old girl’s feet with scalding hot water as a form of punishment.
According to a GoFundMe page launched by the girl’s paternal grandmother, Barbara Little, the child was “intentionally burned by her caregiver” on Aug. 11.
Little wrote that Kaylee is going to need “several surgeries” for her injuries.
“She goes every Monday for at least the next eight weeks for surgeries to try and repair the damage that has been done to her,” she said.
Photos accompanying the post show the toddler sitting in a hospital bed with bandages on her feet. Several other images show large blisters and burns all over the child’s ankles and feet.
Det. Rocky Potter of the Rhea County Sheriff’s Office told local media they received a call from the hospital on Aug. 11 about a child with severe burns. He said hospital staff described them as “sock burns” because the redness on her feet made it appear as if she was wearing socks.
“When I saw them [the burn pictures] it was just, it was the worst scald burns I’d ever seen,” he told local television station WTVC.
Brittany Smith, the toddler’s mother, told the news outlet that a family member had been watching her daughter Kaylee that day. The family member said she was having a “bad day” when she used scalding hot water to punish the young child for misbehaving, Smith said.
The little girl was rushed to hospital and transferred to a pediatric burn unit in Austell, Ga.
The crowdfunding page said the girl’s parents have lost work and are struggling with “huge medical expenses” for their daughter’s treatment.
Little asked supporters to donate money to help her son and daughter-in-law during this “very difficult time.”
Police said the toddler’s caregiver was arrested on Monday.
Jennifer Vaughn, 53, was charged with aggravated child abuse, a class A felony in Tennessee, which is punishable by 15 to 60 years in prison and a fine of up to US$50,000. She is being held on a $150,000 bond, according to an online court record.
None of the allegations have been tested in court.