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Will's Story – Burns Awareness Month

Hf7 Will
Healthy Focus
Posted 15 June 2023

Will's bright pink gloves are a reminder of just how quickly a family camping holiday can go wrong.

The cheeky 4-year-old was playing with his twin brother last year on the Anzac Day weekend, when he tripped and fell hands first into a smouldering campfire pit.

Mum, Belinda, says the next days and weeks became a blur. "Will was airlifted to the Women's and Children's Hospital and immediately was met by a plastic surgeon. He had several more procedures to clean and assess his hands and ended up needing partial-thickness graphs on his right hand.”

The family was so grateful for the care they received, they raised over $7000 through their local Renmark community for the WCH Foundation which was generously matched by the Gillespie Family Foundation.

These proceeds have helped fund a burns first aid and campfire safety education campaign for Indigenous communities, facilitated by the WCHN Burns Service.

Medical Unit Head, Dr Bernard Carney says the resource will be invaluable, especially as the team often seeing an increase in presentations during the winter holiday breaks.

"The most common injuries we see are from children, like Will, who've gone out to play the next morning and haven't realised the fire pit is still hot because it hasn't been extinguished correctly. Good first aid at the site of the burn, initiated in a timely manner, is key, which is why this new resource is so important for families to watch”

Check out the new video for tips to keep them safe around the campfire:

The Burns Service at the WCH provides inpatient and outpatient treatment for children from birth to 16 years who have been injured by burning. We treat around 150 inpatients and 450 outpatients each year from SA, NT and western parts of NSW and Victoria.

June is National Burns Awareness Month (NBAM) aims to drive greater awareness amongst the Australian community of burns prevention and the correct first aid treatment for burns.

National Burns Awareness Month is an initiative of Kidsafe, Australia’s leading community organisation dedicated to child injury prevention, and held in June each year as there is a significantly increased risk of burns during winter.

For more information visit:

Campfire safety tips

Learn don’t burn Put campfires out with water... not sand or dirt

Kicking a bit of dirt or sand on the fire to put it out isn’t smart because it stays hot for more than eight hours. If you or your kids later touch the dirt-covered fire for just a second, it can still be extremely hot and it will burn skin! Be smart, only put your campfire out with water. In 10 minutes, it cools below 50 degrees and in eight hours it’s harmless.

First aid for all burn injuries:

  • Stop drop and roll if still on fire.
  • Remove any clothing and jewellery.
  • Apply 20 minutes of cool running water.
  • Cover with a clean cloth or clean plastic cling wrap.
  • Seek medical advice if the skin is broken or the burn area is larger than a 20 cent piece.

For more information and advice, visit the WCH Burns Service.