Camp fire burns send Port Hedland girl Matilda mercy dash to Perth Children’s Hospital

The West Australian
VideoTwo-year-old Matilda stepped on fire while family was camping at Port Hedland beach.

WARNING DISTRESSING IMAGES

A WA father has pleaded for people to check their campfires are properly extinguished after his family beach trip left his young daughter with serious burns to her arms and feet.

Two-and-a-half-year old Matilda had to be flown from Port Hedland to Perth on Friday and underwent surgery yesterday at Perth Children’s Hospital after she found a hidden campfire at Finucane Island boat ramp around 12pm.

Hedland resident Dale Hawkins posted graphic images of his daughter’s burns on Facebook, warning people to be vigilant with many families taking advantage of the long weekend and relaxed COVID-19 restrictions to go camping.

WA girl Matilda was seriously burned by a campfire.
Camera IconWA girl Matilda was seriously burned by a campfire. Credit: Facebook

“Just a friendly reminder to those in need to practise some common campfire/site courtesy and extinguish your campfire when you are done with them and to not just cover it with sand” he said.

“My daughter found a hidden fire today around lunchtime at the Finny boat ramp beach. Not ideal when a quick beach trip has turned into a RFDS flight to Perth.”

The young girl remains in a stable condition at Perth Children’s Hospital, with her mum by her bedside. Mr Hawkins was driving from Hedland to Perth yesterday.

Matilda, 2, had to be flown from Port Hedland to Perth.
Camera IconMatilda, 2, had to be flown from Port Hedland to Perth. Credit: Facebook

KidSafe CEO Scott Phillips said about 500 children a year were taken to Perth hospital emergency departments with burns, and half of them admitted were aged under five.

“We know that DFES (Department of Fire and Emergency Services) say don’t use sand to put out fires because they can continue to smoulder for a long time after that. So if you’re going to put these fires out it has to be with water,” he said. “First thing you do (when someone is burnt) is you remove anything from the burn that isn’t stuck to it. The next thing you have to do is 20 minutes of cool running water over the burn.”

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