Outraged parents blame day care for second-degree burn on 2-year-old daughter

Authorities investigate Exploration Station after child's burns

By Liane Morejon - Reporter

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - The parents of a South Florida toddler are looking for answers after they said their daughter suffered severe burns at a local day care.

Salma Yemmas and Hudson Michel said initially, their 2-year-old girl was excited for her first day at the Exploration Station on Miami Dade College's North Campus.

"It was a very exciting day for us," Yemmas said.

She said that changed when she received a concerning phone call from her daughter's teacher late Monday morning.

"She said, 'Did you drop her off with a scar? A cut? A scratch on her belly?'" Yemmas recalled. "I said, 'No, I never dropped her off with a scratch this morning.'"

Yemmas said she asked the teacher if her daughter needed to be picked up.

"They said, 'No, everything's fine. We're gonna put a band aid on it. You don't have to worry,'" she said.

Four hours later, at about 3 p.m., Yemmas received a second call.

"I get another call saying, 'Her cut is not doing good. You need to pick her up,'" she said.

Yemmas was shocked by what she saw after arriving to collect her daughter.

"She's crying hysterically. I'd never seen her cry like this," Yemmas explained. "I lift up her shirt and it's big -- skin peeled off -- it's a big wound."

After photographing the burn, Yemmas took her daughter straight to Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital.

"They confirmed it was a second-degree burn on my daughter's belly," she said.

How the child received the burn remains a mystery to her parents.

"She can't recall what happened. She's too young," Yemmas said.

No one at Exploration Station would speak to Local 10 News about what happened when approached for their side of the story. However, a Miami Dade College spokesman released the following statement to Local 10 News:

"The Exploration Station at Miami Dade College's (MDC) North Campus is an award-winning facility with a highly trained staff of childcare professionals and students from MDC's School of Education. All protocols surrounding the incident were closely followed and all notifications to the family were made. We take the safety and well-being of the children in our care extremely seriously. This incident is under review and we are cooperating fully with the Department of Children and Families. At this time, we have no additional comments." 

Yemmas and Michel said the Florida Department of Children and Families, as well as Miami-Dade police, are investigating.

They want to know what happened to their daughter during the few hours she was at Exploration Station.

"They're like, 'We can't say it's a burn because we don't know what happened.' I said, 'You were with my daughter. How do you not know what happened?'" Yemmas said.

"Don't just say you don't know," Michel added. "You're getting paid to watch my daughter and other kids."

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