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Ohio Teen Warns of Dangers From Flammable Liquids

Kennedy sustained burns on her arm, hand, stomach and thighs.

Fourteen-year-old Kennedy learned how flammable some common products are after she sustained serious burns from a small explosion.

“I was using nail polish remover and I had a lit candle nearby when all of a sudden the fumes caught and it exploded,” she recalled.

Kennedy sustained second- and third-degree burns on her hands, arm, thighs and stomach, about 13% over her body. She managed to smother the flames before an ambulance arrived to rush her to Shriners Children’s Ohio.

Kennedy spent nearly two weeks in the hospital undergoing multiple skin graft surgeries and procedures under the direction of Shriners Children’s Ohio Chief of Staff Sara Higginson, M.D., FACS.

“I remember when Kennedy first arrived,” Dr. Higginson said. “She had significant burns across her body and we needed to get her into the operating room.”

Kennedy in inpatient unit wearing burn bandages

Kennedy sits in the inpatient unit at Shriners Children's Ohio.

Dr. Higginson, along with support from occupational and physical therapy, nutrition, care managers and nursing, developed an individualized care plan for Kennedy. Higginson added that Kennedy’s own perseverance was also a key part of her recovery.

“She’s done remarkably well,” Higginson said. “Every single thing our team has asked her to do, she does without fail, and that’s why she’s healed relatively quickly.”

Kennedy is already back at school and doing the activities she loves like cheerleading and playing the saxophone.

Kennedy said she hopes her story can be a lesson to families about how quickly an everyday activity can turn dangerous.

“I just want people to be more aware,” Kennedy explained. “I never thought something I did all the time could end up with me being burned.”

Common household flammable liquids:

  • Cooking oils and sprays
  • Nail polish remover
  • Aerosol beauty products
  • Hand sanitizer

The vapors or fumes from these products can ignite if near a flame or heat source like space heaters or a hot stove.

Kennedy's Care Journey

Kennedy sustained burns on about 13% of her body and was treated at Shriners Children’s Ohio.

Kennedy lifting weights during therapy session

Kennedy lifts weights during physical and occupational therapy.

Kennedy with female provider

Kennedy and Chief of Staff Dr. Sara Higginson

Kennedy with female therapist

Kennedy stands with Jessica, one of her physical therapists.

Next Steps

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