A Te Puna mother says parents need to be aware of potential danger associated with alloy wheels after her 16-month-old daughter suffered serious burns in a freak accident.
Kirsty Cashmore had just parked in her driveway and was grabbing some bags from the back seat when her 16-month-old daughter Charlize attempted to get back in the car.
Charlize placed her hand on the car's wheel but her hand went straight through the car rim to the brake pads, Ms Cashmore said.
She sustained a severe burn on her hand and had to be rushed to an Accident and Emergency Centre where the wound was dressed.
Several days later Ms Cashmore took her daughter back to A&E; and doctors found the burn had penetrated through the nerves in her hand. Charlize was referred to a specialist at Waikato Hospital and operated on.
The burn happened at the beginning of December but Ms Cashmore will not know until they return to the hospital after Christmas whether Charlize will need another operation.
The concerned mum wanted to warn others.
Ms Cashmore drives a Dodge Journey and like many modern cars, it has slim alloy wheels where the brake discs are more exposed than on older cars that typically have a solid steel rim.
"You can imagine any little one of her age and how they are. They run here and there. She went to climb up and didn't put her hand in the right place," Ms Cashmore said.
"It's just not something you think about. We all think about the fire, barbecue, oven, but I'd never have thought her hand would go there. I'm not saying people have to be overly protective. It's just being aware."
AA Motoring advice manager Andrew Bayliss described the incident as a "pretty unusual circumstance".
"We take phone calls all day everyday about everything surrounding motoring and I'd have to say this is the first time I've had a question put to me about a child putting their hand through the wheel and burning it on the brake disc," he said.
"It's just one of those freak things. People just need to be aware."
Mr Bayliss said brake discs could stay hot for up to 10 minutes.
Tauranga Mag and Turbo owner Dianne Morgan said she had not heard of burns from brake discs, despite increasingly popular alloy wheels meaning the discs were more exposed.
"Part of the design of alloy wheels is they have air flow to cool them down, and more cosmetic reasons."
Each year, ACC receives reports of more than 3500 children who suffer moderate to severe injuries. ACC figures show vehicles account for one in five child fatalities and falls in the home are the most common cause of injuries to children.
Tips for keeping children safe these holidays
- If you are having a party, ensure you have at least one non-drinking person to supervise your children, or arrange a babysitter before the event.
- If your child is having a sleepover at a friend's home ask yourself, how well you know this family. Have you actually met them? Make sure your child knows that if they feel worried or unsafe they can ring you and you will come and get them.
- Before children go to any activities; eg movies, swimming etc discuss personal safety skills with them. Make a firm plan and make sure they are clear about who will pick them up, where and when. What is their safety plan if they are worried about something?
- If you are camping in any public camping ground you need to make sure you know where your children are at all times, particularly regarding toileting, showering, sleeping and social activities.
- Set up some rules so you know where your children are. How regularly are they required to 'check in' with you?
- Take time to fully understand any electronic game your child might receive at Christmas as some games may look innocent and harmless but are actually violent and inappropriate for children. When hiring DVDs check the age restriction. If older children are babysitting (remember the legal age is 14 years) what are the rules about any DVDs they may watch while undertaking their babysitting duties?
- Monitor daily what your children have accessed on the internet.
- Source - www.childmatters.org.nz