Cary child gets burned in Halloween costume
Posted October 25, 2011
Cary, N.C. — For children, Halloween is supposed to be about trick-or-treating and just having fun. But last Halloween, Dylan Hicks, 11, of Cary, ended up having surgery at the North Carolina Jaycees Burn Center at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill because of a problem with his costume.
Dylan was wearing a costume that featured a battery-powered inflatable bull. He said he felt a stinging on his leg soon after he started trick-or-treating.
"It felt like a bee sting a little bit.. But it only looked red when I looked at it, so I didn't think it was anything big," Dylan said.
By the time he got home, Dylan had a large black circle on his leg.
His mother, Kelly Hicks, found that the battery pack was leaking.
"You have to put the batteries somewhere. So, he put them in his pocket. For whatever reason, somehow, someway, battery acid leaked out onto his leg," she said.
Dylan had third-degree burns.
Dylan's mother took him to the doctor, who sent them to the North Carolina Jaycees Burn Center. Dylan stayed there a week and underwent a skin graft.
For the past year, Dylan has had to apply cream four times a day and wear a compression wrap.
"The donor site should heal up completely, but the burn area, obviously, he's going to have a scar forever," Hicks said.
Hicks feels inflatable costumes should be redesigned so that the battery pack is on the outside.
David McIntyre, a spokesman for Gemmy Industries, which made the costume, said the company "did not manufacture the batteries that failed, nor supply the batteries."
McIntyre said the instructions state that the battery pack "should be clipped to the outside of pants or a belt loop" and not in a pocket. He said the company is not aware of any other problems with battery packs.
Gemmy continues to look at how all of its products "can be improved," McIntyre said.
Hicks is sharing the story with others to prevent a similar injury.
"I would have never thought that costumes could have done this, ever. So I just want other people to know," she said.
Dylan agrees, saying that he doesn't want to get anymore costumes with batteries.
This year, he is wearing a bright orange Morphsuit made of spandex.