The headline writer should be in hot water, too, for not distinguishing between burn and scald

Water + heat + hand = scald.

Water + heat + hand = scald.

Stand up, the linguistically deprived tosser at Stuff who doesn’t know the difference between a burn and a scald.

The scribe with a flawed knowledge of our rich language says here

Burnt boy’s mother to defend charges

And what”s wrong with that, do we hear some dullard inquire?

A great deal (as you will learn here).

A burn is caused by dry heat whereas a scald is caused by wet heat.

A burn can be caused by heat or cold, and this can be wet or dry.

A scald is a burn caused by wet heat such as boiling water.

Ah, but this is a medical matter as well as a journalistic one.

Let’s try a second opinion here

The difference between a burn and a scald is in the source of the injury: Burns are the result of ‘dry heat’, from a fire or cooker ring for instance, while scalds are caused by hot liquids like cooking fat or boiling water.

The first aid procedure for both, however, is broadly the same.

Alf won’t bother you with details of that procedure.

Rather, he will draw your attention to the circumstances that justifies his insistence that Stuff is guilty of a stuff-up.

The important point is that the mischief done to the victim – a critical part of the story – was done by water, and water (as most people understand) is a liquid.

We learn about the involvement of this liquid in the very first sentence of the story –

A woman accused of fully immersing her toddler’s hands in boiling water will defend the charges, her lawyer says.

For what it’s worth, the 31-year-old woman has name suppression.

She was supported by her interpreter at Porirua District Court, we are told, which suggests she perhaps does not know the difference between a burn and a scald.

But she has been charged with cruelty and ill-treatment of a child and wounding with reckless disregard causing grievous bodily harm to her two-year-old son.

She will be defending the charges, something that enables Stuff to get the right word in the heading next time it deals with this matter.

If found guilty, by the way, it would be nice to think the woman gets something more than a scolding from the judge.

Otherwise there’s a fair chance the Stuff headline writers will be seriously confused about which scald or scold they should be using.


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