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Treatment for Lice Leaves Girl Burned

Fumes ignite after child is doused with gasoline

Too many parents are dismissively told to "just go to the drug store and buy a treatment" when dealing with head lice.  The unfortunate fact is that many of these over-the-counter and prescription treatments fail to live up to the assurances that they can kill all the lice and/or remove all the nits.  Sadly, when the only advice that parents receive doesn't help, many attempt unproven and dangerous alternatives as seen in the story below.

Parents & medical professionals should be aware that products on the store shelf can be dangerous too!  Several treatments on the market are extremely flammable due to high alcohol content, and without any warnings on them disclosing this fact.

The NPA reminds medical professionals to take an active role in lice management and to help advise parents on safe and effective means for dealing with head lice... "Because it's not about lice, it's about kidsTM."

By Hector Gutierrez
Denver Rocky Mountain News Staff Writer
September 1st, 2000

Treatment for lice leaves girl burned
Fumes ignite after child is doused with gasoline

A 12-year-old girl was in critical condition Thursday with burns to her head, face, torso and hands after a neighbor doused her with gasoline to remove lice.

The youngster was at Children's Hospital with second- and third-degree burns to 23 percent of her body, spokeswoman Becky Grupe said.

"It's a horrible tragic accident," said Sgt. Bob Stef. "We're all praying for her here at the Aurora Police Department."

Detectives still were trying to sort out late Thursday what happened at the trailer park home in the 1800 block of Bounty Street, which is northwest of Colfax Avenue and Sable Boulevard, Stef said.

A woman described as a neighbor and friend of the victim's family told detectives that she poured the gasoline on the child's hair, then carefully rinsed it out, Stef said.

Some time later, something apparently ignited gasoline vapors coming from the youngster's head and torso, detectives said.

Authorities do not think anyone else was inside the trailer home when the girl caught fire about 2 p.m.

"We are actively investigating this case," Stef said. "We're talking to everyone involved."

Stef said detectives are trying to determine whether the woman was a day-care provider and whether she acted reasonably or negligently. The would not release the names of the girl or the woman.

Aurora authorities emphasized that over-the-counter medication can remove lice (see above).

Fire Capt. Rory Chetelat said firefighters investigate about five incidents a year in which people dangerously and inappropriately use gasoline. People have been burned and property has been damaged because gasoline was used for such chores as removing clothing stains.

"Basically people need to remember gasoline is a highly explosive liquid," Chetelat said. "Approximately one cup of gasoline can be as powerful as a stick of dynamite. This is a classic example of how dangerous and improperly it can be used."



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