An eleven months old baby was not taken to a doctor or a hospital by staff at a Dublin crèche despite having lost consciousness after scalding her left foot, the Circuit Civil Court heard Friday.
Barrister Veronica McInerney told Judge John O'Connor that toddler Reidin Caponi, who was still learning to walk, had passed out from the pain when she kicked over a coffee cup that had been left on the floor.
Ms McInerney, who appeared for the child with Murray Flynn Solicitors, said the creche owners, D2 Montessori, in Upper Camden Street, was offering the infant, who will be three just two days after Christmas, a settlement of only €10,000.
"Knowing the circumstances of this case I could never recommend that the court accept such a low figure to compensate Reidin for what she has gone through," Ms McInerney said.
"I know that this child could not bear to allow anyone touch her foot and suffered panic attacks at bath time or if she had to go into water."
Ms McInerney said the settlement sum on offer by D2 Montessori failed to reflect the true value of the case and would never be enough to compensate Reidin, who claimed through her mother Mairéad Carroll of Grianan Fidh, Aikens Village, Dublin 18.
Judge O'Connor, who said the offer was considerably short of what it should be, was told the child had subsequently been brought by her father, Roberto, to her GP who referred her to Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin.
Ms McInerney said Reidin had come under the care of Dr Patricia Eadie, a consultant plastic surgeon at St James' Hospital and had to attend the burns dressing clinic on several occasions.
"Reidin cannot bear to put her foot in the bath and under no circumstances could I recommend such a sum as an adequate figure for compensation," Ms McInerney said.
Reidin's mother told the court in an affidavit that the incident had been hugely traumatic for her daughter.
The scalding cup of coffee should never have been left on the floor of the creche where a child could stumble into it, she said. Judge O'Connor, having seen pictures of the injuries to Reidin's foot, said he could not approve the offer and the court was of the opinion the true value of the case was in the region of €25,000.
He adjourned Ms McInerney's application to rule on the offer until January to allow the child's legal team to bring the court's views to the attention of the creche owners.