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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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Cumbrian mum’s fury as son, 7, gets second-degree burns on school trip

A seven-year-old boy was sunburnt so badly on a school outing, he suffered second-degree burns.

SUnburned boy photo
Harry Messenger suffered second-degree burns

Harry Messenger’s back blistered and he was left in agony after a St Bees Village School trip to the beach.

He was one of several pupils who were sunburnt during the outing in last week’s scorching heat. The school has since apologised.

Harry’s mum Sam Messenger said: “When he came home from school and I saw his back, which was red raw, I cried. I covered him in factor 50 sun-cream before he left for school because, although his hair is brown, his skin is fair.

“My husband and I gave the school specific instructions on how Harry was to have his sun screen applied. We were advised it would be applied every half hour. However, he came back so severely sunburned he obviously hadn’t had the cream applied every 30 minutes.’’

Harry’s GP said he had suffered second-degree burns and advised the family to apply Flamazine burn cream and dressings to avoid infection and possible scarring.

Earlier this week, his back began to peel, leaving painful, raw skin exposed, meaning Harry couldn’t tolerate the dressings.

Mrs Messenger said the village school sent a letter to her two days after the trip.

“They apologised for how I felt I had been treated, not for the damage done to Harry’s back,’’ she said. “Harry couldn’t wear a top for days and has had difficulty sleeping. I don’t want this to happen to any other children.”

St Bees Village School arranged for 165 pupils to visit the beach last Wednesday, in the final week of term, accompanied by eight teachers, six teaching assistants and 10 helpers, including school governors.

In a statement, headteacher John Wood said: “Despite making every effort to ensure our children stayed safe in the sun, regrettably a handful of our 165 pupils who came to the beach day did get sunburn and I have apologised for that to the parents concerned.

“A full risk assessment for the trip was carried out and a range of measures was put in place to protect the children from the hot weather. These included letters to parents asking them to ensure their children brought appropriate sun protection, three large gazebos on the beach to provide shade, re-applying sun-cream after children had been in the water and monitoring every 30 minutes by staff to check if more sun-cream was needed or children were getting too hot.

“With it being such a hot day, our younger children didn’t spend as long on the beach and staff and helpers were vigilant in making sure pupils had sun-cream and tee-shirts on.’’

He said that staff applied sun-cream for the younger children while the older ones put it on themselves or helped each other apply it.

“St Bees lifeboat station, where free drinks were provided, was open for the children to cool off and we also had an arrangement with Hartley’s Café that allowed pupils to go with their teachers to buy ice cream to help them keep cool,’’

In a letter to parents, Mr Wood also added that the rare sunny weather has “resulted in us reviewing the appropriateness of this particular visit in the future.

“If it is to take place again, we will require the support of all parents in enforcing the need for pupils to listen to staff and act on their instructions.’’

Have your say

How can anyone of you determine from your sofas whether the mother did or didn't tell the child to keep his top on. I'm sure
She did and the minute he left the house he done what all 7 year old boys do and ignored her. It is an accident but if there is blame to be laid then it is completely the schools fault. The child is sent to school in belief that he will be safe under the trained supervisors who are paid to take care of him.
All you people slagging the mother off I imagine are snobby disgusting humans who live in a slum living off the same mothers tax you are slating. Get a grip and stop pointing the finger for the fun of it you deluded, pathetic people.

Posted by Noodle on 2 August 2013 at 20:54

I really am concerned about the lack of knowledge of how and why sun cream works. All day does not last all day; it sweats off, comes off with water, sand and general everyday wear. Factors give a multiplucation of time allowed in the sun before burning not a peercentage. It needs to be reapplied throughout the day. Also if you use factor 15 and factor 10 it does not give you factor 25! Also clothes do let UV rays through.

Posted by Mau on 1 August 2013 at 00:24

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