It’s a surprisingly common find on a lot of UK beaches: the classic disposable barbecue that comes with coal, a grill, and some fire lighters that are easy to start and will let a group of three or four people enjoy some sausages and burgers by the sea. Come the hot weather and you’ll find groups of teenagers and students all over the country kneeling by these little tin boxes while argue over whether it’s okay to put the sausages on yet.
And, when it’s all done, people cover the barbecue with sand and forget about it.
Except, the thing is, that doesn’t actually work. It’s been a long-standing source of authorities for healthcare professionals, authorities, and the unfortunate who stumble across the still-smouldering remains of these buried and forgotten barbecues. If not disposed of properly they can hide under the sand and give unlucky passers-by horrific burns and injuries.
Now one mother from Swansea is trying to bring attention to the risk these objects bring after her two-year-old son was left with horrific injuries and burns across his feet because he accidentally stood on one of these barbecues. Despite being buried and well hidden, the searing coals were still hot enough to burn through the sand and cause devastating damage to the poor boy’s feet when he unwittingly stood on it.
Heart breaking “Swansea beach BBQ burns skin off feet of boy aged two.”— Richard Holden BBQ (@rholdenbbq) July 5, 2018
There are portable BBQs that are much better for everyone than these cheap nasty disposable barbecues.
Starve coals of air or careful transfer into a bucket of water with tongs. https://t.co/OKXJ9DuufZ
The boy, named Harri, was out collecting stones so he could take them home and paint them. He enjoyed leaving the painted stones outside for random strangers to find, but while looking for stones on the beach he suddenly began to scream. When his mother rushed over and lifted him up she noticed that his feet looked burned.
“I was panicked but have completed first aid training and knew his feet needed to be immersed in water,” she told reporters. “My thoughts were to get his wounds in water and then to get him to hospital as soon as possible.”
Harri’s mother also spoke of how brave Harri was when being treated:
Boy, 2, suffers severe burns at beach after stepping on remains of bonfire buried in sand, mom says https://t.co/c42mJ1r9E2— Fox News (@FoxNews) July 1, 2018
“His blisters had to be burst and the damaged skin scraped off,” she said. “He has had his dressings changed daily to date and he has been amazing each time - we are very proud of his bravery and resilience.”
Meanwhile authorities have issued a statement reminding beachgoers to douse their used barbecues with water and then dispose of them in the appropriate bins. They mention that Harri’s case highlights the dangers of simply burying barbecues and leaving them for others to find.
“What generally happens is the portable barbecue is used for cooking and then disposed of to prevent injury,” said surgeon Sarah Hemington-Gorse, of the Welsh Centre and for Burns and Plastic Surgery at Morriston Hospital. “But then people walk, kneel or lean on the surface and sustain a burn. These burns vary in depth from partial thickness which will heal with dressings, to deeper injuries.”