A Georgia couple says their 2-year-old daughter was left badly burned by a piping hot slice of Little Caesar’s pizza.
Koddi and Wade Dunn of Cornelia, Georgia said they were on their way home from visiting their children’s grandmother on Friday when they stopped by a Little Caesar’s in Lawrenceville to grab dinner. The couple said they entered the drive-thru and ordered their usual: a Hot N’ Ready pepperoni pizza cooked at approximately 550 degrees, as explained by the company.
After paying for their meal, Dunn said she passed the box to her 15-year-old son, who was sitting in the backseat. Dunn said she warned her son to be careful as he grabbed a slice for himself and another for his 9-year-old brother. As he reached over to hand him the slice, however, a glob of lava-like cheese and sauce landed on his baby sister, Jordyn, as she sat in her car seat.
“Suddenly, this piercing scream came from my baby girl,” Dunn, 40, told Yahoo Lifestyle.
She said the sound stopped the family in their tracks as her husband pulled over to figure out what had happened. Seeing Jordyn’s skin blistering from the scalding heat, the couple rushed their child to a nearby hospital where she was treated for second-degree burns.
“It took all of 30 seconds. In that small amount of time, she continued to cry uncontrollably and said, ‘Mommy my hand!'” Dunn recalled to local station 11 Alive.
The concerned mother returned to the restaurant later to complain and was told that Hot N’ Ready pizzas are typically placed in 165 degree warmers after being removed from the oven. However, an employee said the restaurant was so backed up that night that customers were handed pizzas straight out of the oven.
“Why would they put a 400-degree item in a box and hand it to a customer without warning,” Dunn demanded to know. “That’s not what they normally do. The pizza is supposed to cool before its ever distributed. Even when you make pizza at home they tell you to allow it to cool for 5 minutes. And the box, hid the heat!”
Frustrated, she argued that a simple warning from the restaurant may have prevented her child’s injuries.
A spokeswoman for the pizza chain sympathized with little Jordyn’s family but said all cautionary procedures were followed at the time.
“The safety of our customers and employees is our highest priority… ,” LC communication director Tina Orozco said in a statement. “We’re continuing to work with the customer and the franchisee of this store. At this time, we believe that all procedures were followed. As a precaution, we have a warning label on our pizza boxes. Our customers expect to receive fresh, hot pizza out of the oven.”
In the end, Dunn said Jordyn’s wounds were treated and cleaned, and her arm was bandaged. The ER visit cost the family $1,000 in out of pocket expenses, a cost that’s expected to grow as the toddler receives future treatments at a local burn center.
Dunn said manager from the restaurant left a voicemail Monday but didn’t seem sorry about the incident.
“There was no apology or compassion for what happened to my daughter — my family is traumatized,” she told Yahoo Lifestyle. “We change Jordyn’s bandages twice a day and she screams. We try to distract her by pretending the medical tape is fingernails and playing her favorite movie, Annie.”
“A $5 box of pizza should NEVER end with a trip to the ER,” she added.
Dunn said he shared her story in hopes that Little’s Caesars will change its policy.