Little boy with a bandage on his head and wrist

Meet Caleb

After a hot tea calamity left little Caleb with severe burns on his hands and head, specialist nurses and plastic surgeons have been ensuring he gets the best care.

As the adults hurried about their chores just before dinner, Caleb Sinaga had his eye on his next plaything.

The 11-month-old was a speedy crawler, and had mastered hoisting himself into standing position by pulling himself up on the couch or table.

So when a freshly made cup of tea was sitting in reach on the coffee table, he had poured it over himself before anyone could intervene.

“Initially Caleb wasn’t too close to the tea. But everyone is busy, it’s the end of the day, everyone is rushing around. We weren’t looking and when you look he’s already grabbing the cup of hot tea,” said mum Ramona Attamimi.

“I rushed to run water over it,” she said.

“My mother-in-law, who was there, brought some ointment to put on it.

“It was red by then. I didn’t know what to do with burns. I’d never had them before. I didn’t know how severe it was.

“I called the maternal child health nurse. They said because it’s on his face and he’s a baby, it’s better to bring him to ED.”

Caleb and his parents

After taking him to their local hospital, they were transferred to The Royal Children’s Hospital for ongoing outpatient care for the second degree burns.

Specialist nurses and plastic surgeons work with each child until the wounds have sufficiently healed, ahead of physiotherapists managing their longer term care – usually over months or years – to reduce the scarring and improve movement as much as possible.

Originally published in the Herald Sun on Tuesday, 5 April
Words: Brigid O’Connell
Images: Alex Coppel

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