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.