Mother's important warning after boy suffers horrific burns to both feet

Six-year-old Kai Dight is being treated in the burns unit at Queensland Children's Hospital.
Six-year-old Kai Dight is being treated in the burns unit at Queensland Children's Hospital. 

As many families prepare to go camping for the school holidays, mum Crista Dight has an important warning for all parents - never use sand to extinguish fires.

Ms Dight's six-year-old son Kai suffered horrific burns to both his feet on Sunday, after stepping on the remains of a campfire covered in sand. Kai had been camping with his father and eight-year-old sister Indi at a well-known camping spot at Teewah Beach just north of Noosa.

A paramedic at a nearby campsite heard the boy's screams and tended Kai's burns while waiting for an ambulance, before he was rushed to Noosa Hospital for preliminary treatment. He was later transferred to the burns unit at Queensland Children's Hospital.

Ms Dight is now spreading the word in a series of public Facebook posts highlighting her son's ordeal. 

Along with graphic photos of her son's injuries she posted, "Please don't use sand to cover up your campfires, it retains the heat and kids cannot see the fire underneath the sand."

Of her son, she wrote, "He is super brave and being a trooper, but it will be a long road for him. Thank you everyone for your messages, if this post stops one person putting a fire out with sand and not completely cooling it down first and prevents someone else going through this pain then that is a positive out of this sad situation."

The only effective way to cool down and extinguish a campfire is to pour a good-sized bucket of water over it, and supervised and checked until it reaches a safe temperature.

Kai underwent surgery on Tuesday afternoon with Ms Dight posting afterwards saying they had suffered a setback.

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"Unfortunately a tiny section under one of Kai's toes was deeper than they thought, so he is back to theatre on Friday for another debriding and to see if a skin graft is needed."

She went on to praise the staff of the burns unit at Queensland Children's Hospital. 

"He is feeling sick tonight but we are lucky to have awesome doctors and nurses around to make him feel better."

With the many hours spent in hospital, Ms Dight empathised with her son, and with the other children in his room.

"Kai has been so brave, feet all strapped up and checked in for the night... cannot imagine much sleep, 4 patients in the room and 2 screaming, poor kids."

She again urges people to heed her warning, "Hopefully one positive to come out of this is the awareness that you cannot cover a fire with sand, it doesn't put it out, it retains heat and makes it difficult to see on the beach."

Essential Baby reported that, according to a 2003 report published in the Medical Journal of Australia, 70 per cent of campfire injuries, sustained by children, were caused by hot embers rather than flames. In addition, most injuries happened the morning after the campfire "had been considered to be extinguished".

Lead author Dr John Fraser advised, "As a simple rule, use water not sand to put out your campfires."