North East Wales

Mother's safety call after son's Chinese lantern burns

A mother has warned of the dangers of Chinese lanterns after her son was burned in a Bonfire Night accident.

Emma Foulkes, 23, from Wrexham, wants tougher safety guidelines for lantern manufacturers after one broke, spilling hot oil over her three-year-old son Cael's face.

He was taken to hospital with burns to his eyes and face, but is recovering.

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service urged people not to stand underneath lit lanterns.

Ms Foulkes, who lives in Penycae, was at a bonfire party on 5 November with relatives and the group had set off 20 lanterns.

She said: "We told all the children to make a wish as the lanterns went up.

"On the last one, it got just below the roof of the house when the bit that holds the oil at the bottom fell off and dropped on Cael."

Cael was taken to hospital in an ambulance, where his burns were treated and he was given morphine for the pain.

His mother added: "He couldn't open his eyes.

"By Sunday night he could open his left eye, but he still can't open the right one.

"I will never use a lantern again.

"On bonfire night, the thing you worry about most are the fireworks.

"I want strict safety regulations."

Made of paper, the lanterns float due to heat generated by a small candle or oil inside.

Andy Robb of North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: "These lanterns are popular, but we are appealing to the public to be aware of the possible fire hazards of Chinese fire lanterns and therefore the need to be careful when handling them.

"Make sure that no one is standing underneath when they are set up as there is a possibility that oil or wax can tip over and cause injury.

"Thankfully, this time the child's injuries were not severe and he was released from Wrexham Maelor Hospital after treatment."

Farmers have said the lanterns are presenting an increasing menace to livestock and some farmers claim to operate "lantern patrols," to check land for wire from the devices.

The National Farmers' Union has written to the government and coastguards say they are often mistaken for distress flares.

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