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Father explains charges after baby gets burned
Sodus, N.Y. - A six-month-old baby is making his recovery at home after spending a week at Strong Memorial Hospital's Burn Unit earlier this month.
The baby, Matheson Bellinger, suffered second-degree burns under his father's care on June 5.
"I made an honest mistake," said the father Brandon Bellinger. "I have to live with that for the rest of my life. It hurts me to the core."
The 26-year-old new father said he would never intentionally hurt his son.
"I never turned the water on hot," he said. "I even said that in the polygraph and passed it."
Our news partner The Times of Wayne County first reported the incident.
Police said the father was bathing the baby in the kitchen sink when he stepped away and became distracted by the TV.
That's when the baby was hit with scalding hot water that was 132 degrees.
"I had the water running on warm. The tub was completely empty and I was rinsing him off at the time. As I went to go get a towel, I stopped and I glared at the TV for a moment. I didn't stop and watch TV," said Brandon.
Brandon said he then instantly turned the water to cold.
As to why the water became so hot, the parents think it may have been the baby.
The baby's mother Renee Kotwas said, "Matheson is very curious he likes to pull on the faucet and the handle so our assumption is he hit the handle."
Brandon was charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child, Assault in the Third Degree and Making a Punishable False Written Statement to authorities.
Brandon explained the third charge about the false statement. He said he was scared and told police he had to step away from the baby because his dogs were about to knock over his TV.
He clarified that did not happen, that he actually stepped away to grab a towel to dry the baby.
"I know it's an accident," said Kotwas. "I see him [the father] with him [the baby] every single day and I know that he's a great dad
"Matheson means the world to me," said Brandon. "I would take my life for my son. I would jump out in front of a car for him. I would take the burns and put it on my body. I would much have the burns on my body than his."
The parents told 13WHAM Child Protective Services determined the father had no intent to injure the baby and lifted their supervision.
Doctors said baby Matheson will fully heal and have no scarring from the burns.