Mother demands change after child burned by ‘scalding hot’ tea at Ontario McDonald’s

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Ontario family seeks regulation for hot drinks after child suffered second-degree burns
An Ontario mom alleges a spilled hot tea from a McDonald's in Cobourg, Ont, caused serious burns on her five-year-old daughter's body. The family is calling for national regulations around drink temperatures. Germain Ma reports – Jun 14, 2024

A family in Ontario is calling for national regulations around temperatures for hot beverages after they say their daughter suffered burns from a spilled hot tea at a McDonald’s restaurant in Cobourg, Ont.

Samantha Wynne says on June 8 after being served a meal and walking to her table, an unopened cup of tea fell off her tray and onto her five-year-old daughter Jade, hitting the front of her body.

“All of a sudden, she screamed and I realized that her shirt was wet,” Wynne said.

Wynne checked Jade’s body and could see skin peeling off the girl’s stomach, chest and side. The frantic mother says she carried Jade to the front of the restaurant and yelled for help multiple times and asked for a first-aid kit.

“Nobody provided me a first-aid kit,” she said. “No one came up to me even when I asked for help. A customer left her infant in a carrier so she could help me. I asked her to get me cold water.”

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Wynne alleges a restaurant manager asked what she needed and provided a single cold cloth and “didn’t come back” when she asked for additional cloths.

“That didn’t even cover her stomach — all over her stomach and sides she suffered second-degree burns,” Wynne said. “My child is standing there and her skin is peeling and I’m trying to keep myself checked. I’m trying to keep myself and her — just to not go into shock. I couldn’t leave her to go get the first-aid kit myself.

“I already deal with post-traumatic stress and this has just been horrible for myself.”

Image of some of the burns a five-year-old girl suffered after tea spilled on her at a McDonald’s restaurant in Cobourg, Ont. Submitted by Samantha Wynne

Paramedics transported Jade to Northumberland Hills Hospital in Cobourg. She was later transferred to Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, where she spent three days. Jade will be required to return each week for new dressings for her injuries.

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Wynne says Jade suffered first- and second-degree burns that cover 12 per cent of the girl’s body. Jade is expected to stay home from school for the remainder of the month.

The Castleton, Ont., resident says the incident has “traumatized” her daughter. She and her family argue the incident should never have happened, alleging a “lack of care” from restaurant staff.

“It’s not that I want to see people lose their jobs or anything like that,” said Josh Wynne, Jade’s father. “But I want the company to take ownership, and at least have higher-level employees, like management, just a better set up,” she said.

Late Friday afternoon in a statement to Global News, McDonald’s Canada media relations stated it takes incidents like Jade’s “very seriously” and that the “franchisee is investigating.”

A further statement is expected this week.

Samantha argues the temperature of hot drinks needs to be regulated, saying the tea was “scalding hot.”

“I looked into the operations manual of their coffee machines and apparently it goes up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit,” she said.

She also says cups need better labelling and packaging to prevent another burn incident.

“We’re advocating how hot McDonald’s drinks are; how there’s no regulations to the temperatures of their tea. We want the national regulations of the water to be changed in restaurants everywhere in Canada and elsewhere.

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“If this happened to an infant, an infant might not have had a good chance (to survive).”

The Wynne family is considering launching a petition demanding national action. They haven’t ruled out taking legal action.

“There needs to be change now, not later,” she said.

— with files from Germain Ma/Global News Peterborough

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