There are many obvious dangers on the beach that parents worry about, and you always do your best to keep your children safe and secure.
You fill the bag with sunscreen, bring bathing suits and life jackets, make sure there is a lot of water packed and remember your parasol.
But even with all the planning in the world, you can’t prepare yourself for every possible scenario. So what do you do when your day at the beach is suddenly interrupted by your child, screaming at you, with blood everywhere?
That was exactly what happened to Katja Kafling when she was playing on the beach with her children.
The reason her son ended up with bloody wounds on his feet?
A danger hidden under the sand that was so shocking that Katja now wants to warn others.
It started like any other trip to the beach, outside Roskilde in Denmark. Katja’s son, 3-year-old Jacob, was playing happily in the sand and his mom was enjoying the sun.
But seconds later she was on her way to the emergency room in sheer panic. Her little boy’s feet were burned so badly that his skin fell off.
The reason? Something that neither she nor anyone else could have expected.
Hidden under the sandy surface were still glowing pieces of coal and wood, probably from a fire that had been lit the night before on the beach.
Little Jacob had walked straight into the fire, which hadn’t been properly extinguished. Many people use only sand to cool down or quench fires.
But according to Doctor Marianne Cinat at UCI’s Regional Burn Centre, this has the opposite effect. “Sand locks in heat, making smoldering coals even hotter,” she says.
Young Jacob’s burns were so extensive that doctors in Denmark considered amputating his toes.
But luckily, the skilled surgeons managed to transplant skin from other parts of his body to repair his feet.
After almost a year of hospital visits, terrible physical pain and rehabilitation, now 7-year-old Jacob is a happy and thriving little boy. But his feet have been left with permanent scars.
The family knows that the person who left the fire untouched didn’t do it to deliberately cause harm. It’s more likely that the person was unaware of the hidden dangers.
That’s why it’s important to share Jacob’s story to warn others.
Next time you’re on the beach and see someone bury the remains of their fire with sand, ask the people to use water instead.
With education and awareness, we can all do our part to increase security for others.
Jacob was lucky to avoid having his feet amputated, but others might not have the same luck. Let’s not let this happen to more children this summer – help us share this on Facebook!