Microwave horror: toddler left with massive burns from scalding water

Mum warns parents of danger lurking in the home.
Allissa McDowall

Mum-of-two, Allisa McDowall, is sharing the story of her son’s devastating accident in the hopes of warning others of the dangers lurking your kitchen.


‘It was two weeks before his third birthday,’ Allissa told that’s life!


‘I heard the microwave ping and the door open. As I turned around I saw Jack had pulled out two kitchen drawers and climbed up them.’


Before Allissa could stop him Jack was reaching in to grab the boiling hot bowl of vegetables and managed to tip the scalding liquid all over himself.


Rushing him into the shower Allissa says ‘tennis-ball sized blisters’ were already forming on his chest.


‘I pulled off his pajamas but his woolen singlet had struck to his skin,’ she recalls with a shudder.

Jack had third degree burns to 11 per cent of his body and spent more than a month in hospital.


An incredible operation dressed the wound with fake flesh called Integra, which is made from a mixture of shark cartilage, a protein from cows and silicone.


But Jack was growing faster than his skin.


‘Jack’s skin was so tight it caused him to hunch over,’ explains his mum.


‘Every 18 months the skin was scraped away, artificial flesh was applied, followed by a graft.’

Despite all his operations, Jack has stayed positive. (Credit: Allissa McDowall)

Despite his traumatic accident, Jack’s family have been astonished by their son’s courage.


‘Thankfully he doesn’t remember the accident and hasn’t let it hold him back,’ Allissa says.


Jack, now 11, is an Ambassador for Safekids NZ and the Burns Support Group. His father, Paul, is president of the Burns Support Group, and his sister Briana, 18, gave speeches at school about her little brother’s bravery.


‘He’s my inspiration,’ says Allissa, smiling.

Jack today. (Credit: Allissa McDowall)
Jack with his mum Allissa. (Credit: Allissa McDowall)

Read more of Jack’s story and other amazing real life stories in Issue 4 of that’s life!

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