Yellowstone National Park: 3-Year-Old Runs Off Trail, Falls Into Scalding Hot Water

by Jennifer Shea
George Frey/Getty Images

A three-year-old ran off the trail at Yellowstone National Park on Friday and tumbled into a scalding thermal feature, suffering second-degree burns to their lower body and back.

The toddler was life-flighted to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center’s burn center, the Jackson Hole News & Guide reported.

The incident took place around 11:39 a.m. near Midway Geyser Basin. The toddler had taken off running from the trail. Then slipped and fell into the thermal feature, according to East Idaho News.

National Park Service officials said they are currently investigating. They also cautioned park visitors not to leave boardwalks and trails in the thermal areas.

“The ground in hydrothermal areas is fragile and thin, and there is scalding water just below the surface,” officials said in a press release. “Visitors must always remain on boardwalks and trails and exercise extreme caution around thermal features.”

The Yellowstone thermal area has seen multiple injuries in recent years. This May, a woman tripped and fell into a hot spring at Old Faithful while trying to take photographs. Rangers had her airlifted to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.

Last September, a man fell into thermal water near the cone of Old Faithful. He suffered severe burns. And in June of 2017, a man fell into a hot spring in the Lower Geyser Basin. He also suffered severe burns. 

In June of 2016, a man died after he walked off the boardwalk and slipped into a hot spring in Norris Geyser Basin. Another person died and two suffered severe burns in August 2000 after they fell into a hot spring in the Lower Geyser Basin.