x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Scalded baby's maid gets 6 months in jail

A maid who left a 14-month-old baby boy with first-degree burns after bathing him in scalding water has been sentenced to six months in prison.

DUBAI // A maid who left a 14-month-old baby boy with first-degree burns to his genitals after bathing him in scalding water has been sentenced to six months in prison.

The maid had tried to kill herself a month earlier, the court heard.

The Dubai Court of Misdemeanours convicted the Filipina RJ, 30, of unintentionally posing a risk to the life of the Emirati child when she left him in a sink of 80°C water for up to five minutes during a nappy change on January 8.

A forensics report said the resulting first and second-degree burns covered 5 per cent of the baby's body, mainly around his genitalia, waist and lower abdomen.

The baby's mother, EA, a 36-year-old Jordanian, had left him in the care of the maid while she took her other children to school. The boy woke at about 11am and needed a change of nappy so the maid filled the sink up with water from the hot tap.

The maid, who had been working for the mother for four months, then left the baby in the water for what medics believe must have been up to five minutes.

When the maid returned she panicked and, rather than informing the mother, decided to cover the burns with the baby's nappy.

When the mother returned she grew suspicious of the baby's constant crying, checked his nappy and discovered the burns. She called her husband and they rushed the child to hospital.

"When she told me what happened she said the water's temperature was bearable for her and that it was not that hot - but the doctor said it must have been boiling," said the mother.

The maid fled but was soon arrested.

"I felt she was not normal, she tried to kill herself a month before the burning incident," said the mother. She said the couple informed police about the suicide attempt and that the maid signed an undertaking not to repeat it.

She added that she was in the process of hiring a new maid after the suicide attempt, but that doing so would take two months.

The maid had claimed she tested the water and it didn't seem hot to her. "I just noticed the steam on the mirror then found out about the burns," she said.

salamir@thenational.ae