A six-year-old boy has suffered horrific burns to his feet after stepping on smouldering coals from an abandoned campfire.
*Warning graphic images
The fire was roughly covered with sand on a beach on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
Kai Dight and his eight-year-old sister Indi had been with their father at a popular camping spot on Teewah Beach north of Noosa, on Sunday, when he stepped into the hidden fire pit, reports ABC news.
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His screams drew help from people at a neighbouring camp site, where an off-duty paramedic soaked and dressed his burns as they waited for an ambulance to arrive.
The boy was rushed to the Noosa Hospital, where he was met by his mother Crista Dight, who later drove him to the Queensland Children’s Hospital in Brisbane to be admitted to the burns unit.
His mum said she did not hold any anger for those responsible, and believed they thought they were doing the right thing, but warned other beach goers to be aware of the possible dangers.
“I can’t be angry at anyone — I don’t think they purposely would have done it,” she said.
“I can’t take the pain away for Kai either, but there’s no point in us being angry at people for doing that.
“We just wish it didn’t happen.”
She has shared a message on social media to warn people of the dangers.
Alongside photo’s of Kai’s burnt feet she wrote, “If this post stops one person putting a fire out with sand and not completely cooling it down first and prevents soneone else going through this pain then that is a positive out of this sad situation.”
Professor Roy Kimble, who heads the burns unit at the Queensland Children’s Hospital, said last year alone the unit treated 64 children for burns from outdoor fires — 51 of those were caused by hot coals or ashes.
“More than 90 per cent were under nine years of age,” Professor Roy Kimble said.
He said people wrongly believed fires could be put out with dirt or sand.
“While the flames may be out, fires extinguished with sand can retain heat up to 100 degrees Celsius for eight hours after the flames are no longer visible,” he said.
“It only takes one second of contact with a campfire to acquire very deep burns.
“But it can take months, if not years, of intensive therapy to reduce scarring and regain mobility in severely burnt limbs.”
He said a 10-litre bucket of water would have cooled the fire within 10 minutes.
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