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Toddler’s punishment burned her feet so badly skin grafts might not take, Tenn. cops say

Recognizing signs of physical child abuse

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics show that more than 700,000 children are referred to child protective agencies as a result of abuse or neglect in the U.S. each year.
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U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics show that more than 700,000 children are referred to child protective agencies as a result of abuse or neglect in the U.S. each year.

A 2-year-old’s punishment burned her feet so badly that skin grafts might not work, police say.

A family member was taking care of the toddler in Rhea County, Tennessee, on Aug. 11 when police say she put the child’s feet in scalding water as a punishment, WTVC reported on Tuesday.

Brittany Smith, the toddler’s mother, told WTVC that the family member, Jennifer Vaughn, called her that day saying her daughter had been burned and that she had used the scalding water as punishment for the 2-year-old because she was “having a bad day.”

The toddler, Kaylee Robinson, was taken to a burn center in Georgia, WTVC reported.

Rocky Potter, a detective with the Rhea County Sheriff’s Office, told WRCB that the toddler has “sock burns” on her feet, meaning the burns go 2 inches above her ankle, making the burns look like socks.

He told WTVC on Monday that the burns are so severe skin grafts might not work.

“She’s going to have to have skin grafts or attempted skin grafts for probably about 6 to 8 more weeks,” Potter said, according to WRCB.

Potter said doctors told him “submersion for 3 to 4 seconds in 140-degree water” would cause the type of burns the toddler has, according to WDEF.

Vaughn was arrested and charged with aggravated child abuse, WDEF reported.

Smith told WTVC that her daughter is now home from the burn center but will have to have more surgery.

A GoFundMe, which includes graphic photos of the child’s feet, was set up to help with medical expenses.

“For those of you that can not give a monetary donation, please share and keep our sweet angel in your prayers,” the GoFundMe says.

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Bailey Aldridge is a reporter covering real-time news in North and South Carolina. She has a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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