Daughter’s Accident Turns Nurse Into Author, Activist

Health and Fitness Monthly
May 30, 2004

PAWTUCKET—When Sarah Cruz’s baby burned her hand on a hot oven door, Cruz leapt into action, as most parents do. The registered nurse called 911 and tried to run the hysterical girl’s hand under cold water.

The second-degree burn, which happened when 1-year-old Azurae leaned against the stove as she tried to stand up, healed completely.

But Cruz wasn’t finished leaping into action. A few months after the accident, she wrote a book about scalding and contact burns for parents to read to toddlers and preschoolers. Bernie Burn, illustrated by Cruz, is about an angry, flame-shaped character who can be found lurking all around the kitchen. The story teaches children to beware of Bernie.

“ We’re trying to show the child that Bernie Burn represents danger,” says Cruz, a Pawtucket resident.

She’s been reading the book at preschools, and warning her audiences to stay a couple of giant steps away from hot areas- -such as faucets, Crock-Pots, coffee makers, and hot cups of tea.

She asks children whether they’ve been burned, and usually gets several responses. Many have had run-ins with stoves and grills.

The book specifically targets young children because Cruz found that most scald-prevention programs were geared to children ages 4 and older.

To order the book or arrange for Cruz to speak to a preschool or other group, call 475-5852 or go to www.bernieburn.com.


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