Protecting children from dangers found outdoors

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Backyards, sheds and garages play host to any number of dangers for kids, and one 10-year-old boy's life was changed forever, in just three short seconds.

10-year-old Ethan Wykle's little brother saved his life, after Ethan poured gasoline into a drink container and lit it on fire.

"It blew up, and he ended up with 65% of his skin missing," Ethan's stepmother, Karri Wykle said.

"Your heart just drops, right out. You don't even know where that goes. It's gone," Ethan's father, Curtis Wykle said.

Ethan was at another family member's home when the accident happened.

"He was playing with gasoline and lighters and trying to start a fire while he wasn't being supervised," Karri Wykle said.

In seconds, Ethan's body was on fire. That's when his little brother stepped in and saved the day.

"My brother pushed me on the ground and throw sand on me and then put me out," Ethan remembers.

Ethan's life was saved, but forever changed.

His back, chest, stomach and neck are left scarred after the explosion and he is left with melted skin that must be stretched to help Ethan regain full mobility.

Ethan also must wear a $1,600 protective suit at all times.

"It's extremely tight. It's like getting into a wet jet ski suit," Karri Wykle said.

Ethan spent six months recovering at Children's Hospital.

Now, he gets physical therapy twice a day for the foreseeable future, and needs around-the-clock care.

A few seconds is all it took to change this family's life forever.

Kristin Braun coordinates care and therapy sessions for kids like Ethan, and knows how fast a tragic accident can happen.

"Kids will be kids, but a lot of times it's always an adult eye that can catch something before it causes further injury for them," Braun said.

There are a lot of ways kids can get hurt outside, whether it be in the garage, the shed, or the backyard.

Want to protect your kids?

Consumer Reports says watch out for these four dangers:

  • Lawnmower: It's best to pull the spark plug when the lawnmower is not in use and keep it locked up.
  • Pesticides: Store them safely, out of a child's reach.
  • Plants: Find out which are toxic, and fence them off.
  • Bugs: Depending upon the bite, an allergic reaction can be mild or major.

As for Ethan, right now it's special soothing creams and surpassing daily milestones.

"You can never be too careful.  You really can never be too careful.  It really, literally only takes three seconds and that's all it took with him, was three seconds.  And he almost lost his life," Karri Wykle said.

Teaching your kids about safety inside and outside the home is really the key.

Children's Hospital has teamed up with Kohl's Cares to create a fun, interactive teaching website and app packed with games, safety and injury prevention information.

CLICK HERE for additional information.