5 year old suffers serious burns after falling into boiling water.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

On the 27 June 2018, Boitumelo Ngidi (5) from the Mpophomeni Township, in Howick, Kwa-zulu Natal, was playing with her younger brother Quintin (2), when she accidentally fell backwards into a bath of boiling hot water.

Boitumelo was then pulled out of the water by her mum, Nonhlanhla (29) and immediately rushed to Hilton Life Hospital, the closest emergency hospital approximately 25 minutes away.

sore but trying to smile
Boitumelo Ngidi (5) suffered ‘full thickness’ burns after falling backwards into a bathtub of hot water.

Upon arrival, Boitumelo was placed into ICU, after sustaining superficial burns on both her upper limbs and neck as well as ‘full thickness burns’ on her back and buttocks.

“Boitumelo presented with decreased range of motion in the neck, right and left shoulders, oedema in the left hand, poor pain management, inability to sit upright without back support, poor in-bed mobility and poor functional mobility.” – says Occupational Therapist, Nadia De Barros


After 2 weeks, Boitumelo was placed into the Paediatric Ward before being discharged on the 19th of July, as their medical aid could no longer cover the cost of ICU.

“The family has suffered a tremendous ordeal, with Nonhlanhla, carrying a burden of guilt for what has happened to her daughter and the lifelong scars she will have. She has so much love for her daughter and has taken unpaid leave to be at her daughter’s side as often as she can. To make matters worse, the family car was involved in a car accident as a result of the stressful situation” – says Boitumelo’s beloved Teacher and Principal at Heritage House Preschool, Karen van Lelyveld

Unable to take public transport due to her fragile state and for risk of infection, the family rely on friends and family to take them to the hospital to change Tumi’s dressing every 2 days, which sometimes isn’t possible.

“Boitumelo has endured so much for such a young child and every time she starts making progress, she gets another infection and skin grafts need to be redone, which sets her back.” – says van Lelyveld

Tumi enjoying BakerBaker Day copy

Hoping to raise funds to support Boitumelo’s ongoing medical costs, extensive occupational therapy as well has the psychological therapy her family will need, Boitumelo’s teacher, Karen, set up a campaign on donations based crowdfunding platform BackaBuddy, to appeal to the public for support to overcome the shortfalls of the family’s basic medical aid plan.

The campaign went live on the 17 August 2018 and has thus far raised R2604.35 towards the fundraising target of R100 000 with contributions from 7 donors.

Funds generated by this campaign will be directly managed by BackaBuddy NPC and paid directly to the relevant medical practitioners to ensure transparency with donors.

“With surgical intervention that is to follow, Boitumelo will require continued occupational therapy focusing on upper limb rehabilitation and functional rehabilitation until she is independent in the home and school environment. In order to achieve this, she will need to attend occupational therapy sessions 1-2 times a week and purchase skin therapy products and pressure garments, which cost R16 000 alone. ” – says De Barros

“Last friday, Boitumelo came to school for an occupational therapy session and stayed for about 2 hours. She is still having difficulty walking and the exercises were noticeably painful for her.”  says van Lelyveld

“It has been heart wrenching to see this bubbly little girl in such anguish, but she continues to put on a brave face for her friends who adore her. We hope the public will support our BackaBuddy campaign, so Tumi can get the treatment she needs and return to school full time” – adds van Lelyveld

Donate to Boitumelo’s medical treatment here

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