Florida toddler ‘permanently disfigured’ by water sprayed from hot hose, officials say; mom charged

Mom charged after toddler ‘permanently disfigured’ by water sprayed from hot hose, officials say

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A Florida woman has been charged after authorities said she failed to seek treatment for her toddler after the child was sprayed with hot water from a hose, causing permanent scars.

Authorities charged Jessica Smith, 24, of Gainesville, with child neglect resulting in great bodily harm after the Department of Children and Families investigated the incident, WGFL-TV reported Thursday.

According to WGFL, the child's father, from whom Smith is separated, said Smith prevented him from seeing the toddler for about two months. When she allowed him to see the child, he saw scars covering the toddler's back, the incident report said. He then alerted authorities, who observed the injuries and described the toddler as "permanently disfigured," WGFL reported.

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At first, Smith told DCF that a babysitter had been arrested after burning the child, who was treated afterward, WGFL reported. But investigators learned that Smith had lied about the babysitter and treatment, according to the report.

Smith later admitted that another child had sprayed the toddler with a hot hose, authorities said. She said she didn't seek treatment because she was afraid she'd lose custody, the news outlet reported.