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Three-year-old suffers thermal burns in Yellowstone National Park

JACKSON (WNE) — A three-year-old suffered second-degree-thermal burns to the lower body and back in Yellowstone National Park on Friday.

The accident occurred near the Fountain Freight Road near Midway Geyser Basin when the toddler took off running from the trail, slipped and then fell into a small thermal feature, according to a National Park Service press release.

The child was life-flighted to the Burn Center at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.

Park officials are investigating the incident and reminding visitors to stay on boardwalks and trails in thermal areas.

“The ground in hydrothermal areas is fragile and thin, and there is scalding water just below the surface,” park officials stated in the release. “Visitors must always remain on boardwalks and trails and exercise extreme caution around thermal features.”

It was the second significant injury in a thermal area in 2020, park officials said.  In May, a visitor – who had illegally entered the park – fell into a thermal feature at Old Faithful while backing up and taking photos.

Though infrequent compared to injuries resulting from encounters with wildlife in Yellowstone, there have been other thermal burn injuries scattered over the years.

In September 2019, a man suffered severe burns after falling into thermal water near the cone of Old Faithful Geyser. In June 2017, a man sustained severe burns after falling in a hot spring in the Lower Geyser Basin. In June 2016, a man left the boardwalk and died after slipping into a hot spring in Norris Geyser Basin. In August 2000, one person died and two people received severe burns from falling into a hot spring in the Lower Geyser Basin.