Despite some high visitation numbers this year, we have not had to report many stories like this: earlier today a three-year-old suffered second-degree burns to the lower body and back after slipping from a trail into a Yellowstone thermal area.
The child and family members were walking on a trail near the Fountain Freight Road at 11:39 a.m., near Midway Geyser Basin, when the child took off running from the trail, slipped and then fell into a small thermal feature. As a result, the child suffered second-degree-thermal burns to the lower body and back.
Due to the injuries, the child was life-flighted to the Burn Center at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.
This incident is under investigation. It does highlight something that’s often forgotten by Yellowstone visitors: The ground in hydrothermal areas is fragile and thin, and there is scalding water just below the surface. Visitors must always remain on boardwalks and trails and exercise extreme caution around thermal features.
According to a Park Service press release, this is the second significant injury in a Yellowstone thermal area in 2020. In May of this year a visitor (who illegally entered the park) fell into a thermal feature at Old Faithful while backing up and taking photos.