A Queensland mum has unleashed on her local council after an incident at a splash and play waterpark left her 18-month-old daughter with second degree burns to her feet.
Simone Pickering was watching on as her toddler wandered among other children at the Ipswich River Heart Parklands. She had no reservations about her being barefoot until she heard a deafening scream.
“Our daughter just happened to walk a short distance from where myself and family were sitting, to find herself paralysed, standing on one of these scorching hot metal plates unable to move due to the intensity of the heat below,” Ms Pickering wrote in a Facebook warning to other parents.
“In seconds the damage had been done.
The devastated mother said the drive to the hospital was the most horrific and heartbreaking 10 minutes of her life.
“To hear the unbearable pain your child is in and not be able to soothe her or take it away messes with your head – pushing you to dig deep and find strength,” she wrote.
“Watching her tiny little body laying limp on the hospital bed with cords and tubes running everywhere crippled me.”
Ms Pickering said she had no reservations about letting her toddler run barefoot around the park given it wasn’t overly hot.
“What you don’t expect to have to tell your children is to watch out for scorching HOT metal covers placed right in the path of little feet at a Splash and Play Water Park of all places,” she added.
“Had it been a cracking hot day it makes sense that you would have your kids wear shoes. You don’t expect a 25-28 degree day to be of any real concern especially when there are children running around everywhere.”
She said “the negligence” of her local council and their engineers were to blame for the injuries – injuries that she says she never wants to see another young family have to live through.
“These images are etched into my mind and every time we have someone ask what happened the emotions come racing back – mostly now in the form of anger,” she wrote.
“Angry to hear that this type of burn is common. That each year children are admitted to Lady Cilento Children’s hospital after stepping on council owned grids/pits in local parks!
“Angry that councils are aware of the issue but due to ‘funding’ neglect to fix it resulting in more innocent kids being hurt!
“Angry that even after a full recovery our daughter will never truly know what is normal feeling in her feet as she won’t have any prior memories to draw upon being that she’s only 18-months old.”
A spokesperson for Ipswich Council told Yahoo7 News staff erected a safety barrier around the grate after they were made aware about the incident before the pit cover was coated in a heavy paving paint to reduce its temperature.
“Council urges parents of young children to be mindful of the risk of all exposed surfaces being hot during summer,” the spokesperson said.
Water parks will always need service pits and as this one is not located in the immediate vicinity of the water play area it may not have been identified as a potential hazard in safety audits.
As an additional measure inspections have been carried out in other water parks for potentially similar situations.