Mum’s warning as nail glue leaves daughter, 11, with third-degree burns

A mum has issued a warning to other parents after her 11-year-old daughter was left with horrific third-degree burns from nail glue.

Beth Jones’ daughter Millie started applying nail glue to her hands before spilling some on her jeans.

Minutes later, beauty-mad Millie was screaming in agony as the glue caused a terrifying chemical reaction burning through her skin.

After a cold shower, Millie was raced to A&E at Morriston Hospital in Swansea, South Wales, where doctors said she had sustained third-degree burns caused by a reaction between a chemical in the nail glue and her cotton jeans.

Now scarred for life, Millie may even require a skin graft to her left leg following the accident last month.

DVLA worker Beth said: “At hospital, the doctors told us that when a chemical in the nail glue comes into contact with cotton, it creates an exothermic reaction.

“It was horrendous. Millie’s skin was practically sizzling, it was that hot. She’s usually a tough cookie, so for her to be crying and screaming, I knew it was bad.

“I’d had no idea about this reaction, and now I don’t want this to happen to anybody else. It has been a huge, frightening wake up call.”

On 17 April, Beth, of Camarthen, South Wales, had enjoyed a family outing at Camarthenshire's National Botanic Garden of Wales with her partner, business owner Fraser, 33, Millie and her other children, Bradley, 13, and Reggie, eight months.

Once home, Beth busied herself with feeding and settling Reggie, while Bradley went to play video games and Millie decided to apply her nails in her bedroom.

She added: “Millie is really into her beauty and is really good at it. I was such a tomboy growing up, so she absolutely fascinates me.

“She has done my make-up a few times, which is a lovely bonding experience for us. She’s always watching YouTube tutorials, plus we have a relative who is a qualified beauty technician, so Millie is well aware of how important safety is.

“As it was in the school holidays and she has done them before, I thought nothing of her doing her nails.”

Within minutes though, a scream rang out from Millie’s bedroom.

Racing upstairs, Beth was horrified to see her daughter on the landing, crying in pain.

She explained: “It turned out that, after setting up her desk with all her little products, Millie had reached down to get something and knocked the glue onto her legs.

“We had no idea at the time, but it must have reacted with the cotton in her jeans and started to heat up and burn.

“She was screaming, ‘It’s burning,’ over and over. I saw she had the lid to the glue stuck on her right foot, so I thought it was that and took her into the bathroom to get her in a cold shower.

“As I bent down to turn the water on, though, I could literally hear the cotton fizzing. I thought I’d have to prise her jeans off her, but they weren’t stuck – it was just that strong a reaction.”

After dousing Millie’s legs in cold water, Beth was able to see the full extent of the damage – a large white patch on her left shin.

She added: “Millie then said to me that it didn’t hurt anymore, but I thought, ‘That’s even worse, that might mean there’s nerve damage.’”

Wrapping Millie’s wounds in cling film to keep them clean and dry, Beth then took her to Morriston Hospital, where she said the care she received was exceptional.

Referred straight to the burns unit, Millie’s injuries were cleaned and dressed, before doctors confirmed they were classified as third degree.

They then explained that, although usually harmless, certain fast acting adhesives known as cyanoacrylates – including nail glue – can have an extreme reaction if they come into contact with cotton.

According to a number of studies in the US Library of National Medicine, cotton, along with certain other tissues, acts as a potent catalyst when in contact with cyanoacrylate glue, and is known to produce an exothermic reaction – a chemical reaction that releases energy through light or heat – that may cause burns.

Beth added: “Doctors told me it was like she’d had acid poured on her skin.”

The severity of the burn had also caused nerve damage, meaning Millie could not initially feel any pain.

Now, she continues to have her wounds cleaned and dressed daily and the family are waiting to hear whether she will need a skin graft.

Beth said: “I know she will be self-conscious anyway of the scar on her shin, which is permanent. I worry about adding to that with a skin graft.

“There’s so much pressure on youngsters these days, so I want to minimise that, and I also don’t want her to be in any pain.

“She’s making progress now, which is really good. I’ll be taking doctors' advice at every turn, and if they say she needs a skin graft to recover properly, then there is nothing we can do.”

Now, Beth is desperate to raise awareness so that no other families suffer like this.

Taking to Facebook , she posted about Millie’s traumatic incident and was met with a flood of comments and shares.

She continued: “I got the odd negative comment, saying I shouldn’t have been letting Millie do her nails, which I do take on board, but mostly it has been overwhelmingly positive.

“I’ve got so many messages from people saying this has happened to them. If it was me with the injuries, I would probably just leave it and put it down to me being silly.

“But Millie is a child and I really don’t want anyone else to get hurt.”

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