NEIGHBOURS have described how a panic-stricken family knocked on the door begging for help after their baby was burned in a barbecue accident.
The one-year-old boy was left with agonising burns after crawling across hot coals during a family day-out at Hayling beach.
The coals had fallen on the beach from a disposable barbecue being used by the family.
The mum and dad frantically ran across the road to nearby houses in Sea Front and picked up a garden hose to shower the baby’s burns with cold water.
The incident happened as safety experts warned of the dangers of not disposing of barbecues properly as the hot weather continues and the Royal wedding bank holiday approaches. David Barnes, 19, was at his girlfriend’s house in Sea Front when he answered the door to find the child’s mother pleading for help.
The boy’s father was using the hose in the garden to hose his son down.
Mr Barnes said: ‘I looked through the kitchen window and the bloke was hosing down the baby.
‘I went out to ask him if he was OK. He just said the baby had walked on the barbecue.’
The family’s mobile phone had run out of battery power so Mr Barnes let the mother phone for an ambulance.
Lee Garland, 48, whose daughter goes out with Mr Barnes, said: ‘We had just come back from the pub. We got back and wondered what the hell was going on.
‘I spoke to the husband. He was understandably distraught. The lad had burns to the leg but thankfully not to his face.
‘The paramedics asked us to stop traffic so the helicopter could come down.’
He added: ‘The baby was crying quite badly. I was extremely concerned.’
The family was airlifted to hospital by helicopter, which had landed on Hayling beach, at 4.45pm on Monday.
The baby received treatment to burns at Southampton General Hospital.
First aid experts said the family’s quick-thinking probably minimised the damage.
Graham Smith, a volunteer with St John Ambulance for many years, said: ‘The advice tends to be to put a burn under running water for 10 minutes or so. You don’t want it directly hitting the burn, however, as you don’t want to peel any of the blisters off.
‘It’s gently running water, rather than blasting it with water.
‘The cooling of a burn is a good thing to do – it minimises tissue damage and has a soothing effect. Hats off to them for trying to cool the baby down quickly.’
Top tips on how to stay safe while barbecuing
WITH another bank holiday just days away, a raft of barbecue safety advice has been issued.
Havant Borough Council said families should take extra care to ensure beach barbecues are disposed of safely.
Peter Vince, environmental quality manager, said: ‘If you intend to have a barbecue on the beach, take a bucket with you to pour seawater over it after use to extinguish the hot coals.
You may need to do this several times.
‘It is clear that even when left for a good couple of hours hot coals can reignite, so to be safe do not put the barbecue into the bin, but place it next to the bin so council waste operators can clearly see the barbecue.’
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said around 1,800 people a year visit hospital following a barbecue accident – with around 800 suffering a burn and 200 getting cut.
The society advises that barbecues should be strong and sturdy to prevent them tipping over. Children should never be left unsupervised and long-handled tools should be used to turn the food.
Barbecues should be placed away from sheds and overhanging trees.