Girl, 11, left with third degree burns when she spilt nail glue

Girl, 11, left with third degree burns when she spilt nail glue

Mother’s warning after her beauty-mad 11-year-old daughter was left with third degree burns when she spilt nail glue onto her jeans

  • WARNING, GRAPHIC CONTENT: Millie Jones was applying the nails in her room
  • Mother, Beth Jones, rushed in when she heard her screaming out in pain
  • Millie’s leg was burning under her cotton jeans and she was rushed to A&E
  • Spilt glue caused a chemical reaction and now Millie may need a skin graft

A mother has issued a warning about stick-on fake nails after spilt glue gave her 11-year-old daughter third degree burns. 

Millie Jones, of Camarthen, South Wales, announced she was going to apply the nails in her bedroom during her Easter school holidays. 

Minutes later, she was screaming in pain as her mother, Beth Jones, 34, rushed upstairs find Millie’s leg was burning.

The chemicals in the glue had scorched her cotton jeans after she knocked it over, leaving a large patch of her skin underneath ‘sizzling’.

Doctors 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. 

After a cold shower, Millie was rushed to hospital where doctors confirmed the reaction had caused third degree burns which may need a skin graft.

Millie Jones, 11, was left with third degree burns on her leg when she spilt nail glue on her jeans. Pictured in Morriston Hospital in Millie’s home of South Wales

The chemicals in the glue had scorched her cotton jeans after she knocked it over, leaving a large patch of her skin underneath ‘sizzling’ (pictured)

Mother Beth Jones, 34, pictured with Millie, is issuing a stark warning about stick-on fake nails

Miss Jones, a DVLA worker, said: ‘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.

‘At hospital, the doctors told us that, when a chemical in the nail glue comes into contact with cotton, it creates an exothermic reaction.

‘Doctors told me it was like she’d had acid poured on her skin.’ 

On April 17, Miss Jones 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, Miss Jones busied herself with feeding and settling Reggie, while Bradley went to play video games and Millie decided to apply her nails in her bedroom.

Miss Jones said: ‘Millie is really into her beauty and is really good at it. She has done my make-up a few times. 

‘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 and after racing upstairs, Miss Jones was horrified to see her daughter on the landing, crying in pain.

She said: ‘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.


Minutes after announcing she was going to her bedroom to apply the nails, Miss Jones rushed in to find Millie screaming in pain and her leg burning

Now, Millie is having the wound cleaned and dressed daily (pictured)

‘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.’

HOW CAN NAIL GLUE CAUSE BURNS? 

Glues that are cyanoacrylate adhesives, such as nail glue, can cause skin irritation, serious eye irritation, an allergic skin reaction and a respiratory reaction.  

It can bond to the skin in seconds, but should not be pulled apart if it glues the lips or other pieces of skin together.

Cyanoacrylates generate heat on solidification.

Due to rapid polymerization (solidification) at the skin surface, an allergic reaction is rare, but in rare circumstances, a large drop will burn the skin. 

If skin becomes bonded by super glue on a non-hazardous part of the body, it can be left and will peel off in 1-2 days with no ill effect. Soaking in or swabbing with warm soapy water is the best method to soften the glue.

According to a study published by the US National Library of Medicine, if cyanoacrylates – including nail glue – come into contact with tissues such as cotton, this acts as a potent catalyst for an extreme exothermic reaction, which releases energy through light or heat.

It can lead to high temperatures capable of causing burns and spontaneous ignition of the fabric. 

Source: National Centre for Biotechnology Education, University of Reading

After dousing Millie’s legs in cold water, Miss Jones 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, Miss Jones then took her to Morriston Hospital.

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. They should come with a warning to be kept away from children. 

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.

It is known to produce an exothermic reaction – a chemical reaction that releases energy through light or heat.

In rare circumstances, a large drop of cyanoacrylates will burn the skin or cause irritation. It’s been reported to cause an allergic reaction but due to solidifying quickly at the skin surface, an allergic reaction is rare. 

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

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

Miss Jones said Millie is aware of safety around beauty and makeup because she is always practicing and they have a relative who is a beauty technician. Pictured together with Reggie

The family, DVLA worker Miss Jones, her partner, business owner Fraser, 33, Millie and her other children, Bradley, 13, and Reggie, eight months, had enjoyed a day out together before the incident on April 17

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

Miss Jones 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, Miss Jones 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 said: ‘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.’ 

WHAT ARE BURNS?

Burns are damage to the skin caused by dry heat, such as an iron or a fire.

This is different to scalds, which occur due to wet heat like hot water or steam.

Burns can be very painful and may cause:

  • Red or peeling skin
  • Blisters
  • Swelling
  • White or charred skin

But the amount of pain a person feels is not always related to how serious the burn is.

Even a very serious burn can be painless.

To treat a burn:

  • Remove the heat source
  • Cool with cool or lukewarm running water for 20 minutes. Do not use ice
  • Remove any nearby clothing or jewellery unless it is stuck to the skin
  • Keep the person warm with a blanket
  • Cover the burn with clingfilm
  • Use painkillers like paracetamol if necessary
  • If the face or eyes are burnt, keep sitting up to reduce swelling

Burns that require immediate A&E treatment are:

  • Chemical or electrical
  • Large or deep – bigger than the injured person’s hand
  • Those that cause white or charred skin
  • Those on the face, hands, limbs, feet or genitals that blister

Pregnant women, children under five, the elderly, those with a weak immune system and people suffering from a medical condition, like diabetes, should also go to hospital.

Treatment depends on what layers of the skin are affected. 

In severe cases, a skin graft may be required.

Source: NHS Choices  

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