A HEARTBROKEN mum has revealed her terror at watching a cheap firework explode against her four-year-old daughter leaving her scarred for life.
Maisie Roe, seven, from Devon, was just four-years-old when a flare from a firework shot across a field during a home fireworks display and lodged between her collar and scarf before exploding.
Maisie's desperately tried to pull it off but her coat and scarf caught fire and she suffered burns to her head, neck and shoulder as well as superficial burns to her face and ear.
Three years on from the accident, Maisie still bears the scars and, along with her family, she wants to urge all retailers to ban the selling of fireworks.
Her mum and dad Stephanie and Jack, both 33, had no idea their three children were in such danger from the five-flare candle picked up at a local shop.
Civil servant Stephanie said: “I’ll never forget November 5th, 2016. We decided to light a bonfire for our children and buy some sparklers for them to play with. Jake spotted a box of fireworks in a local shop and picked them up too."
“We live on a farm, so we were able to double the safe-distance advised on the box,” she continued.
But when engineer Jake lit a five-flare candle, only four went up into the air before exploding. The fifth shot across the field and lodged between Maisie’s collar and scarf. As she tried to pull it off, it exploded.
Stephanie explained: “I was stood to the side filming, and I honestly don’t think I realised what was happening until I saw the flames and heard my eldest daughter screaming.
“I think every parent thinks they know how they’ll react if something like this happened, but the truth is that in that moment I just panicked.
“Thank goodness Jake and my mum, nurse Sue Irwin, 58, were there and acted quickly.
“Maisie’s coat and scarf had caught fire, and everyone was screaming. Jake threw a bucket of water over her and my mum carried her inside where we got to work with silicone dressings and wrapped her head and neck in wet towels.
“Looking at Maisie laying on the living room floor wrapped in a wet towel, I felt sick. I’m first-aid trained, and it’s ingrained in me that the quiet casualties are the ones you need to worry about. Maisie was deadly silent which made it even more terrifying. It was quite clear she was going into shock.”
Maisie was rushed to the specialist burns unit at Bristol Children’s Hospital, where she underwent five operations over the course of eight days. Doctors carried out skin grafts on the full thickness burns to her head, neck and shoulder.
After being discharged, the youngster was treated at home – which involved a nurse visiting every other day to change her dressings.
Stephanie says: “She was in so much pain that we would have to physically hold her down in the bath so the old dressings could be removed. Jake had to come home from work because neither myself, my mum or the nurse were strong enough to hold Maisie down.
“I think any parent who has some part to play in anything awful happening to their child feels some guilt. We could never have foreseen what was going to happen but we essentially put her in that situation and watching her suffer like that afterwards was horrendous.”
The family took Maisie back to hospital for monthly check-ups for a year after the accident, and now she is seen annually unless they have any concerns.
Brave Maisie has taken it all in her stride. At a recent swimming lesson, one of her friends pointed out her scars and asked her when they would go ‘back to normal’.
Stephanie explained: “Maisie just casually shrugged and replied: ‘This is normal now.’
“We’re all so proud of her. She not only wears her physical scars with pride but mentally she is so positive about everything that’s happened."
She added: “She doesn’t remember the pain or the fear – she remembers the nurses and the play therapists. Maisie isn’t angry about what’s happened, she just wants to play a part in stopping any other little children going through the same thing.”
The family are thrilled with Sainsbury’s decision to stop selling fireworks.
Stephanie added: “None of us believes fireworks should be so readily available to the general public, not least because of the horrific injuries they can cause. We really hope the other supermarkets will see sense and stop stocking them too.
“Jake bought a £10 selection box at a local newsagent, so the firework that injured Maisie essentially cost £2 at the most. It’s just terrifying - when you see the size and cost of the fireworks available for anybody to buy it doesn’t bear thinking about the kind of devastation they could cause if something went wrong.
Why has Sainsbury's banned fireworks?
Sainsbury's has stopped selling fireworks in all of its 2,300 stores.
The decision came after concerns over fireworks causing distress to pets, wildlife and elderly people.
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “Fireworks are no longer available in our stores but customers can continue to choose from a range of seasonal products, such as glow sticks and light up spinning wands.”
The ban comes after more than 750,000 people signed a petition earlier this year to ban shops from selling fireworks.
There were another 11 petitions that closed in 2018 calling for the same thing, the most popular of which received 113,000 signatures alone.
The Government says that it recognises the concerns but it also feels the rules already "strikes the right balance" between safety, enjoyment and the religion significance.
RSPCA research shows 45 per cent of dogs display signs of fear during Bonfire Night.
The decision has been applauded by thousands, with some dubbing it "best news ever".
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“I would urge anybody thinking about setting off fireworks at home to think twice. There are so many amazing organised displays around the country that there’s no need to take unnecessary risks. If people are dead set on doing them in the garden, then let small children watch from behind the safety of a window.
“We hope that by seeing what happened to our beautiful daughter we can stop other families making the same mistake that we did. It doesn’t matter how safe they claim to be and how far away you can be when they go off – it’s just not worth the risk. It could have been so much worse for Maisie.”
Meanwhile, this is the shocking moment a huge firework explodes in the street - just after a car moved form the exact same spot.
And this man has issued a firework safety warning after losing his eye in 2017.