Babysitter ‘punished’ 2yo with hot water
WARNING: Graphic content
A grandmother has allegedly punished her stepgranddaughter by dipping her feet into boiling water.
Jennifer Vaughn, of Tennessee in the US, is said to have called the two-year-old's mother Brittany Smith in a panic saying Kaylee had been burned.
According to Ms Smith, Ms Vaughn told her she used hot water to punish the little girl because she was "having a bad day".
The girl, who was rushed to hospital, suffered horrific third-degree burns and blisters from her ankles to her toes while she was being babysat by Ms Vaughn.
The little girl is unable to walk due to the severity of the burns that doctors have described as "sock burns" because of the shape and location of the burns.
Ms Vaughn has now been charged with aggravated child abuse and is being held in custody following the alleged incident on August 11.
According to Metro UK, the grandmother is said to have confessed to wounding the girl as a punishment for misbehaving.
Ms Smith told Metro UK her two-year-old had undergone two operations so far but neither had worked.
"The skin is not really repairing itself in the way the doctors hoped it would. Kaylee is in a lot of pain," she told the publication.
"They are going to take some skin from her thigh next week to try and repair her feet … she is at high risk of infection and could end up losing them."
Rocky Potter, a detective with the Rhea County Sheriff's Department, who has been working the case, said it "ranks right up there with one of the worst ones I have seen".
According to ABC 2, Mr Potter said investigators determined Ms Vaughn used scalding water to punish the little girl.
A devastated Ms Smith told ABC 2 there was "nothing in this world that a two-year-old can do, no matter how bad they lashed out" to justify the alleged ppunishment.
She had left Kaylee with Ms Vaughn on August 11 while she, Kyle Vaughn (her fiance and son of the accused) and her other two children went to swim at a local beauty spot.
She chose to leave her two-year-old at home because she said the water was too deep for a child as young as Kaylee to enjoy safely.
Instead, she left Kaylee with Ms Vaughn, who had cared for the little girl previously without any incidents.
However, Ms Smith later received a phone call from Ms Vaughn telling her to come home immediately.
She wouldn't tell her what had happened, but Ms Smith could hear Kaylee screaming in the background.
"She said that I had to come home right away. I asked her what had happened, but she wouldn't tell me," Ms Smith said.
When she arrived home she found her daughter screaming in agony, ABC 2 reported.
Kaylee has since been released from a specialist burns centre and is continuing her recovery at home.
"She will not be able to walk for the foreseeable future and is really struggling to understand why she can't join in with her siblings when she sees them playing at the hospital," Ms Smith told Metro UK.
"If I had my way, she (Ms Vaughn) would have the exactly same punishment given to her that she inflicted on my daughter. I would like someone to burn her feet just the same."
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help cover medical costs for Kaylee with a target of $US5000 ($A7400) - so far $US2310 ($A3400) has been donated to the family.
Ms Vaughn could face 15 to 80 years in prison. The case will be presented to a grand jury in October.