It was supposed to be a fun way to beat the heat. But a trip to the water park turned into a nightmare for two Oklahoma brothers, their mother says.
The boys suffered second- and third-degree sunburn on a field trip with their day care to the water park in the city of Vinita on Friday, mother Shaunna Oxford told NBC News.
She said her two sons — Connor, 7, and Trae, 5 — were left in the heat with no sunscreen.
“We signed permission slips. I had asked the day care if I needed to bring sunscreen, and they said no,” Oxford said. “There was no thinking that anything like that would happen.”
The two boys were first taken to Craig General Hospital, where Oxford was told there was nothing the hospital could do until her sons had blisters. She then took them to Claremore Hospital for a second opinion, where the boys had their blisters lanced. They were sent home with pain medication.
She then took the boys to Hillcrest Medical Center in Tulsa for a third opinion — and that’s when professionals there said the boys had to be airlifted to Shriners Hospital in Galveston, Texas.
“We went to Hillcrest in Tulsa because I figured it’s a bigger hospital,” Oxford said. “They told us that we were going to get life-flighted down to Shriners.”
The state Department of Human Services said it was investigating the day care, Happiness Is a Learning Center over the sunburn incident allegations. The owner of daycare center agreed to voluntarily close their doors amid the investigation.
Calls to the day care were not immediately returned.
Debra Martin, a spokeswoman for the Department of Human Services, said the day care has a record of violations. She described the previous incidents as “not life-threatening.” Some of the violations shown in a DHS log include expired fire extinguishers present in the facility and children napping in a room unsupervised.
Oxford said the trip to the water park was supposed to be early in the day to avoid the heat, but she said the kids only returned shortly before she picked them up in the late afternoon. The heat index on Friday in Vinita was over 110 degrees.
Oxford also said that day care employees were making fun of her older son for complaining about his burns.
“That kind of made me angry, but I didn’t realize the severity,” she said.