Utah family warns others about burns from unexpected places as temperatures soar

Jul 24, 2023, 1:40 PM | Updated: 1:40 pm

SPANISH FORK, Utah — This Pioneer Day heat wave is a big cause for concern as temperatures in many parts of the state remain in the triple digits or upper 90s.

Contracting a burn can happen during these scorching hot days, or, as a Spanish Fork family learned firsthand, a burn can happen on a sunny day in the 80s, when surface temperatures can climb well past 120 degrees.

“We knew it could get warm,” said Sara Hall, a mom of four.

Around this time last year, her daughter Mavis, 10 months old at the time, climbed up on their deck landing.

Hall said she remembered Mavis starting to cry while also out in the yard. Rushing over, she looked down at her daughter’s hands.

“Really bad second-degree burns. … I look at her hands, and her skin is just melted off,” Hall said.

After a trip to the emergency room and the University of Utah Health Burn Center, Mavis went in for multiple checkups over the course of weeks.

“That type of thing, the time just sort of stands still…I didn’t know that in a matter of seconds, it would give her such major burns from it,” Hall said.

Dr. Chris LaChapelle, a burn surgeon with the University of Utah Health’s Burn Center, said they see people coming in with burns caused by unexpected places when temperatures pass 100 degrees.

“Porches. Patios. Patio furniture. The car. Seat belts. Car seats. Leather seats as well as playgrounds and sand,” LaChapelle said.

He said they see people of all ages coming in — from children to older patients.

“Adults that get pavement burns from walking on pavement with their bare feet, adults with people working on the roofs. …We see an uptick almost every summer, especially between July 4 and Pioneer Day,” said LaChapelle said.

He said burns can have different effects.

“It depends on how deep the burn is. If you are touching a very hot surface, pavement, for example, can get as hot as 130 degrees when the temperature is over 100,” LaChapelle said.

In third-degree burn cases, surgery may be required. Thankfully, Mavis, now nearly 2 years old, is climbing around as usual with little to no scarring.

Their message to other families is decking is not a maybe hot surface.

“It really gets hot. Like it’s not ‘may.’ It gets dangerously hot,” Hall said.

The family said they have all their kids wearing shoes anytime it is hot outside. They also use different doors when going outside during the hot parts of the day.

LaChapelle said to place the back of your hand on the surface to help prevent burns from any surface that has been in the sun. If you’re unable to hold it there without it being uncomfortable, he said it is too hot.

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Utah family warns others about burns from unexpected places as temperatures soar