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Doctors warn parents after boy burned due to spark from aerosol soap can

The doctors said that face paint the boy was wearing might have been oil-based, which would have reacted with the spark.

Image: Shutterstock/Chayut Thanaponchoochoung

THE DOCTORS WHO treated a young boy after he sustained burns when an aerosol can of branded foam soap sparked have given a warning to parents.

In a letter to the Irish Medical Journal, plastic surgeons Rebekah Long and Serena Martin and consultant Claire Black explained that in October 2017, it was reported that a boy aged three was hospitalised after a canister of Paw Patrol soap product “exploded” while he was having a bath.

The product was subsequently subject to a recall.

The plastic surgeons said they wanted to highlight a number of issues which put this child and potentially other children at risk of severe injuries – and that the case is “particularly relevant to emergency department staff, anaesthetists, paediatricians and plastic surgeons”.

In their letter, they say that the boy – who was being bathed by his parents – was playing with an empty aerosol can of the soap when he “continued to shake the bottle and squeeze the release button hoping to discharge further foam”.

Worryingly, the empty can released a spark which ignited the surface layer of bath water, causing a flash burn to the child’s torso, face and airway.

The boy was taken to the emergency department by his parents, and was estimated to have burns on up to 20% of his body surface area.

He also had evidence of an airway burn with singed nasal hairs, swollen lips and a hoarse voice.

He was transferred to the regional burns unit and paediatric intensive care (PICU).

The doctors said that aerosol cans can contain butane, isobutane and propane, which are all highly flammable gases.

The boy had face paint on when he was bathed. The doctors said:

For the top layer of bath water to ignite there must have been a flammable substance present. This was most likely an emulsion layer on the surface of the bath water.
Although we do not know the exact ingredients of the face paint, we have to consider the possibility that this emulsion was from an oil based face paint.
These seemingly innocent childhood activities led to a potentially lethal bath time combination.

They said that this case “highlights potential hazardous interactions of common childhood activities which can cause life threatening airway and cutaneous burns”.

The boy “continues to have management of his cutaneous burns”.

Read: Filmmakers apologise after complaints over allergy scene in Peter Rabbit movie>

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