A southern Ontario mother says her child suffered painful second-degree chemical burns after he used a school toilet seat cleaned with a harsh disinfectant.
The seven-year-old boy was unable to wear pants for 11 days due to the pain and missed nearly two weeks of school, his mother says. She is now speaking out in hopes that a similar incident doesn’t happen to other children.
“The first couple days were really, really, really bad,” the mother, who chose to withhold her name, told CTV Kitchener. “He couldn’t go to the bathroom without putting a towel on the outside of the toilet seat so that it was soft on his bum.”
The incident happened March 31 when the child went to the washroom at Stewart Avenue Public School in Cambridge, Ont. Later that day, the boy noticed a red rash similar to a sunburn on his legs. Shortly after, the rash began to ooze and bubble.
“It had progressed to a second-degree burn,” the boy’s mother said. The mother has since launched a $250,000 lawsuit against the school board.
Images of the burn appear to show large, reddish patches across the child’s rear legs that swell in size. In some areas, the skin is scabbing. In response, the school sent a letter home on April 1 warning parents that some students suffered “varying levels of skin reaction” after using a bathroom.
The affected bathroom was thoroughly cleaned and all the school’s cleaning products were inspected.
The mother says the school provided her with a material safety data sheet describing the cleaner, ED Everyday Disinfectant, which can be “harmful in contact with skin,” according to the sheet.
The school board says the situation was taken very seriously.
“The safety of our students and staff is our top priority and appropriate measures were taken. This is now a matter that is before the courts and we are unable to comment further,” wrote a communications officer with the Waterloo Region District School Board.
The boy has since returned to class, his mother says, but she wants to make sure a similar problem doesn’t happen to other kids.
“It’d be a shame if it happened to anybody’s child,” she said.