A Des Moines man has been accused of causing burns to a 3-year-old child during an alleged toilet training incident.
Tarwo Koso, 23, is charged with child endangerment causing serious injury. He was being held Monday night on $10,000 bond at the Polk County Jail.
The victim, Davis Gee, is recovering at the University of Iowa Hospitals burn unit. Des Moines police said the skin up to the ankle of Davis’ left foot was hanging off the toes when officers arrived shortly after 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday at an apartment building in the 2200 block of East Park Avenue. Koso had called authorities for help.
He told police that he heard water running in the bathroom and then heard the boy crying. He initially indicated he was not at fault.
Police Detective Lori Kelly was assigned to investigate the case and said Koso is accused of causing the injury intentionally with scalding water. She said it was the result of a “potty-training incident.”
Kelly described the injury as a full-thickness burn, one of the more serious burn classifications.
When officers arrived at the apartment, Koso identified himself as Davis’ stepfather.
Burn injuries make up about 10 percent of all child abuse cases, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
On its website, the Justice Department says that about 10 percent of hospital admissions of children to burn units are the result of child abuse. In comparison with accidentally burned children, abused children are significantly younger and have longer hospital stays and higher mortality rates.
Child burn victims are generally under the age of 10, with the majority under the age of 2.
Children are burned for different reasons, according to Justice Department officials:
“Immersion burns may occur during toilet training, with the perpetrator immersing the child in scalding water for cleaning or punishment. Hands may be immersed in pots of water for playing near the stove. Inflicted burns often leave characteristic patterns of injury that, fortunately, cannot be concealed.”