Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dad accused of burning 2-year-old for potty training "miscues" (Fort Mill, South Carolina)

Dad CHRISTIAN BROWN is accused of burning his 2-year-old son, apparently as "punishment for miscues in potty training." The toddler was hospitalized with 1st- and 2nd-degree burns on his buttocks and genital area. The child informed a nurse that "Daddy" was the one who hurt him.

Potty training has surfaced as a common "trigger" for abusive male caretakers. Check out the diapers/potty-training tab below for similar cases.

Fort Mill-area dad accused of burning toddler
Medical experts say scolding could be potty training punishment

By Kimberly Dick - The Herald LANCASTER CO. -- A Fort Mill-area father faces child abuse charges after police say his 2-year-old son was scalded with hot water possibly as a punishment for miscues in potty training.

A childcare employee alerted Emergency Medical Services on Monday after the finding blisters on the boy, said Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile. The child was taken to Springs Memorial Hospital with burns on his rear end and private areas, according to the sheriff’s office report.

Medical officials believe the burns and blisters are consistent with punishment for a child having difficulty during potty training. Christian Brown, 23, of Fortson Drive in Indian Land off S.C. 160 near the York County line, was arrested Monday after his son was hospitalized with the first- and second-degree burns, Faile said.

“We were alerted by the emergency room staff at the hospital about a kid that had been burned,” Faile said. “We spoke with hospital personnel and the child’s parents. The story the father was saying didn’t match up to what had taken place.”

The child’s father, Brown, initially told officials the boy’s redness was a result of diarrhea, the report stated. He said the burns could have resulted from the children turning the hot water on themselves while briefly alone in the bath tub. But the child told a nurse that he was hurt by “daddy,” according to the report.

A nurse told deputies the child’s injuries are consistent with dunking burns, when someone is dipped in hot water as a punishment, the report said.

The child’s mother told authorities they were in the process of potty training the child and he was not doing well, the report said. Children generally start using a toilet between the ages of 18 months and 3 years old.

Brown was charged with unlawful conduct toward a child, Faile said. The charge could carry a sentence of 10 years in prison.

The child’s mother has not been charged in the incident, Faile said, which is still under investigation.

Other children, ages 3 and 4, live in the house. It’s not known if previous abuse has occurred.Brown was incarcerated in the Lancaster County Detention Center on Tuesday on $45,000 bond, he said. Brown has no felony criminal history in South Carolina, a State Law Enforcement Division background check shows.

Faile said it’s been quite a while since he’s seen a child abuse case similar to this.

Peggy Payne, executive director of Safe Passage, an advocacy group for the abused, said discipline in a parenting situation like potty training depends on the family.

While some offer small rewards for completing the task successfully, she warned punishment for not going to the bathroom could cause the child to be afraid of going at all.

This type of abuse, like others, is a power and control issue, Payne said.

When consequences include being dunked in hot water, Payne said, it’s like using “terrorist tactics” against your child.

The child was being held at the hospital for observation. The Department of Social Services is involved in the case.