Boy burns feet on beach fire

A SEVEN-year-old boy was left with third degree burns to his foot after stepping into the remains of a camp fire on a popular beach. The Mendip Green First School pupil has spent the last three weeks undergoing painful treatment following the accident in

A SEVEN-year-old boy was left with third degree burns to his foot after stepping into the remains of a camp fire on a popular beach.The Mendip Green First School pupil has spent the last three weeks undergoing painful treatment following the accident in Sand Bay. His dad now wants to warn parents about the dangers faced by children playing barefoot on the beach.The Kewstoke beauty spot is popular with families who want to escape from the crowds on the main sands in Weston. Many set up barbecues on the beach, which is also a favourite with dog walkers and horse riders, and light camp fires.But some of the fires are not put out properly and hot coals and ash left behind in the sand pose a serious danger.The boy's dad said: "It was an horrific experience. My son suffered burns to both his feet. Fortunately the burns on his left foot were superficial and have already healed but his right foot was left in a real mess."The 37-year-old father, from Worle, was with his wife, oldest son and a friend with two children when the accident happened.He said: "I emptied a cold bottle of cola over his feet straight away as it was the only thing I had to hand. I then ran over to a toilet block and put his feet in a sink full of cold water."A couple living opposite then helped us while we waited for an ambulance to arrive. They were wonderful and we have been back to thank them. After we left they went over to the beach to make sure the fire was completely out."The boy was taken to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol and has since had to have his dressings changed every two days. It was feared he would need skin grafts but his foot has been healing well and he returned to school on crutches last week.His dad said: "I can't believe anyone would be stupid enough to leave behind the hot remains of a fire on a busy beach. I dread to think what could have happened if a child had fallen head first into it or if a baby had crawled into it. Dogs could also have walked through it."The people responsible for lighting the fire had thrown some sand on to the ashes, probably thinking it would help extinguish them, but they probably insulated the heat even further."Something needs to be done to make sure it doesn't happen again. I think more patrols need to be carried out."A North Somerset Council spokesman said: "The council does not allow fires on the beach at Sand Bay, except by prior permission. For example, we do get requests from scout groups and other organised parties and we allow those to go ahead if they are managed responsibly, and on the understanding they ensure the fire is fully extinguished with water afterwards."Rangers also visit the area twice a day, and if they see someone with a fire on the beach they ask them to put it out."Our advice to people who see an unattended fire on the beach would be to leave it alone, and not cover it in sand. Covering a fire with sand may just cause the fire to burn more slowly and other beach users might not see it until it's too late."There are signs which state the lighting of fires is prohibited, including a large one near The Commodore and one at the bus terminus car park.


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