Firefighters have issued an urgent warning to Aussie parents after a two-year-old’s very close call with a gas heater.
The toddler’s tale has gone viral after his mother shared her experience with Tiny Hearts Education, a first aid organisation for parents.
“My two year old son was standing in front of the gas heater in his onesie,” the mum explained, detailing how his clothing suddenly caught alight while she was in the bathroom.
“Thankfully my husband was still home and quickly put it out.
“My son didn’t even feel that he was on fire. My husband smelt it, saw the flame and quickly responded.
“He was in front of it [the heater] for less than 30 seconds before catching fire!”
Parents react to 'scary' incident
The story, posted on the Tiny Hearts Education Instagram page, sparked concern amid online users.
“Oh wow that is so scary,” one person wrote. “Just shows how quickly this can happen.”
“Holy cow,” another said. “Imagine if the dad wasn’t close by.”
“100% why I don’t use that thing,” someone else added.
Warning over 'catastrophic injuries'
Fortunately Fire and Rescue NSW says this type of incident doesn’t happen too often.
“But it does happen,” Superintendent Adam Dewberry told Yahoo News Australia, “often with catastrophic injuries which are life changing, very painful, very difficult to treat and ongoing.
“Quite often [they] are [also] accompanied with severe scarring which requires lots of treatment to get better and repair that over a lifetime.”
He went on to explain that depending on the material, objects can catch alight really easily.
“That’s why firies recommend that we have a metre between the heater and any other material, whether it be clothes, a person or furniture.
“That metre gives that separation so those products don't heat up and spontaneously ignite.”
Supt Dewberry is also urging residents to ensure they get their heaters serviced, use them properly and turn them off when they go to bed, and always ensure a working smoke alarm is installed.
But most importantly, he’s pleading with parents to “keep an eye on their little ones.”
“They're adventurous, especially with open fires and even the gas fires that have a flame, they're very curious,” Supt Dewberry said.
“We do have to be really diligent.
“We have too many little ones that do get burned in and around fires every year and that's not just in winter.
“So please keep an eye on the little ones. They really are impacted easily by burns and that is lifelong.”
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