Toddler suffers serious burns on Northumberland beach

Amelia Hibbitt, who suffered severe burns to her foot on Bamburgh beach.
Amelia Hibbitt, who suffered severe burns to her foot on Bamburgh beach.

A two-year-old girl has suffered serious burns to her foot while playing on the beach at Bamburgh.

Amelia Hibbitt, from Belford, spent several days receiving treatment in the specialist burns unit at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.

The incident happened on a family trip to the beach with her mum, Shannon Rutherford, her brother Nathan Rutherford and mum Maria Gordon.

“Amelia was just playing in the sand when she dropped to the ground screaming in pain,” said Shannon. “Her foot started to blister so I rushed her down to the sea to try and cool it down.

“That didn’t work so we went straight back to the doctor’s surgery in Belford, who sent us down to the RVI. The doctors there think she must have stood on something, either a chemical in the sand or possibly a barbecue that someone has buried there.”

Police have been informed of the incident and have been in contact with Northumbrian Water.

“Due to the pH level from her foot, they do believe it has been a chemical that has been put on the beach,” said Shannon.

“It’s made me angry, upset, the full range of emotions, but the main concern is that I don’t really have any idea how it happened. One minute she was playing happily, the next she was in agony.”

The case will be a worry to the thousands of people who visit the iconic beach, especially with the height of the summer season approaching.

Shannon said: “As her parents, we would like people to realise that pouring your waste disposals, etc, onto the beach is not a safe way to dispose of anything as it can cause harm to others. We are devastated about what has happened and want to make other people aware of what could possibly be on this beach and to take extra care.”

Amelia was released from hospital on Tuesday after the wound stopped seeping.

However, she still needs to keep making the 100-mile round trip for dressing changes and for decisions to be made as to whether the burns will heal on their own or whether any surgery will be required.

Shannon is hoping that her daughter’s mood will improve now she is back home.

“Amelia isn’t herself at all,” added Shannon.