Big Island toddler badly burned by improperly disposed coals after a holiday cookout

Big Island toddler badly burned by improperly disposed coals after a holiday cookout

KAWAIHAE, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A toddler is recovering from a painful Fourth of July injury at a Big Island beach.

Hailey-Rose Kihe was with her family at LSD Landing in Kawaihae. The 16-month-old suffered severe burns when she stepped on hot charcoal that had been dumped on the sand by a stranger, according to her mother.

“Immediately, I could see the pain in her eyes and then she dropped into it. Thankfully, she had her floatie on. It kind of protected her,” said Sierra McVeigh.

After heading to the emergency room at North Hawaii Community Hospital, the 16-month-old was medevaced to Oahu.

She suffered second-degree burns on the soles of both feet and the palm of her left hand.

Hailey-Rose wound up spending two nights at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children.

“Every year, we see these and they occur especially during the holidays. We have something like the Fourth of July, lots of families are enjoying the beaches,” said pediatric surgeon Dr. Russell Woo. “They’re always accidental, but they’re definitely preventable.”

The child is the first patient treated at Kapiolani Medical Center this year for a coal burn. Last year, the hospital took care of four patients. There were two cases in 2017.

Charcoal used for cooking should be fully extinguished and disposed of in a designated container.

Department of Land and Natural Resources officials said that area is state land that falls under the Hawaii Department of Transportation’s jurisdiction.

"We have filed a police report about that incident and they're investigating right now," said McVeigh.

The toddler and her mother flew back to Oahu on Wednesday for a checkup.

Her skin is blistered, but her doctor is hopeful that she won't need to have surgery or skin grafts, which has happened in other cases.

"We have seen third-degree, which will be full thickness burns, that do require full operations, skin grafting, and that can keep children in and out of the hospital over a period of weeks to months," said Woo.

Woo hopes that Hailey-Rose's injuries will fully heal in the next couple of weeks.

“We are just praying for healing and it looks like she’s healing quite quickly,” said McVeigh.

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