Four-year old’s excruciating injuries spark beach warning
A CAMPFIRE safety warning has gone out after a Cairns preschooler suffered excruciating burns after stepping on hot coals beneath a layer of sand on Ellis Beach.
Jesse Palmer, 4, was enjoying a fun day on the beach when his foot landed on a carelessly abandoned campfire hidden by a thin layer of sand.
The result was agonising for the young boy who had to be rushed to Cairns Hospital for emergency surgery, screaming blue murder the whole way.
Mum Rachel Snedden has urged campers to take notice of her son's injuries and be careful to extinguish fires with water rather than just covering them with sand.
"People aren't aware of the fact that if you cover it with sand, it can act as an insulator," she said.
"It can be really hot for up to eight hours afterwards."
That was the case for young Jesse, whose burns occurred in the midafternoon.
He had to undergo debriding, which involved removing a layer of skin off his feet to lower the chance of infection.
"He has been very distressed," Ms Snedden said.
"He's had to be on diazepam and have painkillers as well, just to get near his feet.
"He basically screamed the hospital down when he had his first dressing change, and we had a lot of nurses rush in to see if he was OK.
"When it first happened, they had to give him (horse tranquilliser) ketamine and everything else just to even look at them.
"He wouldn't let anyone near his feet."
The burns happened almost a fortnight ago but Jesse is still struggling to understand why he was put in such a wretched position just for going to the beach.
"He's still very traumatised by fire," Ms Snedden said.
"We've tried to take him back to the beach but he says he doesn't want to go.
"He's really regretful for ever having gone, and said he should have stayed home because there's no fire at home," she said.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services recommends campfires be extinguished with water, and stones be left in place to mark the location of any fire. Less than a second of contact with a campfire with a temperature exceeding 70C will result in a significant burn.
Ninety-one per cent of burns caused by outdoor fires are a result of contact with coals rather than flame.
Originally published as Four-year old's excruciating injuries spark beach warning