Brampton YMCA tap water burns 5-year-old boy

Child suffers second-degree burns after attempting to wash his hands at a bathroom sink.

WARNING: This story contains an image some may find disturbing

Boy burned at Brampton YMCA

7 years ago
5-year-old was trying to wash his hands when he was scalded 2:15

A five-year-old boy was scalded after turning on a tap to wash his hands in a Brampton YMCA bathroom, his mother says.

Lyndsey Townsend said she took her son, Justin, into the women’s bathroom on Sunday to wash his hands after a game of badminton. The boy turned on one of the lever-style taps and put his left hand under the water.

I don't think that at anytime anyone should be scalded by water that quick, that fast ...  I don't understand how anything like that is possible, especially in a family facility- Lyndsey Townsend

"He immediately started yelling and pulled his hand away," Townsend told CBC Toronto.

"His skin was basically hanging off the top of his hand."

Townsend said she was "in shock" when she searched for an emergency button. YMCA staff arrived and treated the child before calling paramedics.

"There’s no way it was anything but the water that burned him," Townsend said she told YMCA staff, when they asked.

The paramedics who treated Justin told Townsend it was a second-degree burn.

A day after the incident, Justin is still in pain but is back to playing with his toys with a bandage over his hand.

Lyndsey Townsend said her 5-year-old son Justin suffered this burn to his hand after trying to wash his hands at a sink at the Brampton YMCA. (Lyndsey Townsend)
Townsend said she’s concerned about her son’s well-being, but she’s also troubled this kind of thing could happen in the first place. As a licensed heating, ventilation and air conditioning technician, she said she believes a boiler or water tank at the building didn't shut off properly after reaching a certain temperature.

“I don't think that at anytime anyone should be scalded by water that quick, that fast,” she said.

"I don't understand how anything like that is possible, especially in a family facility."

She said in the year-and-a-half she’s been going to the Brampton YMCA, she’s heard parents complain about water being too hot, but never about an incident this serious.

A YMCA spokesman said this is the first time anything like this has ever happened in the building’s 15-year history, and the organization has "taken steps" to resolve the problem. In the meantime, the building’s hot water supply has been shut off in the area where the boy was burned.

"At the YMCA, we take incidents very seriously," said Ivan Rabinovich, adding the hot water wouldn’t be turned back on until they were sure YMCA members would be safe.

Ivan also said the YMCA is also keeping in touch with the family. 

Justin wants to go back to the YMCA, his mother said, but she won't let him until she's satisfied it's safe.


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