Mum Issues Warning After Plant Burns Baby's Skin
A mum has issued a warning after her baby was hospitalised from Giant Hogweed.
Claire Hardwick's three-month-old daughter, Lottie, developed painful burns and blisters when sister Lexi, eight, put the dangerous plant in her buggy without realising.
What Lexi thought were "pretty flowers" was actually Giant Hogweed and within 24 hours, Lottie was covered in burns and blisters.
Mum Claire, 29, from Lancaster, rushed Lottie to A&E, where she spent a night before being transferred to a specialist burns unit at a children's hospital 60 miles away.
Claire said: "This plant looks so pretty, but it is lethal. Please, do not let your kids pick it.
"I did not have a clue a plant could do that to your skin, and such a nice-looking plant as well - who would have thought it could be so dangerous?
"I felt so guilty when I realised what had caused Lottie's burns - it's every mum's worst nightmare.
"Lexi is old enough to understand and feels awful too, because she knows she put the flowers there."
The plant causes a reactions when it comes into contact with human skin. This is due to the sap, which is full of toxic chemicals.
Blisters usually form within 48 hours and in severe cases it can cause permanent scarring and even blindness.
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Claire and husband Michael, 31, had been visiting the grave of their daughter Layla, who was sadly stillborn last year, when Lexi picked the Hogweed, which has distinctive white flowers.
Although the eight-year-old placed the flowers at the foot of the buggy, Lottie must have touched them with her hand before rubbing her face.
Claire said: "We lost our daughter a year ago, so we were going to visit her and Lexi picked some flowers to take to the grave.
"She placed them at the side of Lottie in the car seat, near her legs, but we think she put her hand on it and rubbed her face. By the time we got home her face was getting redder and redder.
"I thought it must be sunburn and felt so guilty, but it wasn't sunny at all. By the next morning the blisters were red raw and her eyes were so puffy she couldn't open them - her eyelids were three times the size they normally are.
"We were terrified - we had no idea what was wrong."
Medics have not yet been able to determine whether Lottie will suffer any permanent scarring. Claire said: "Hopefully, Lottie won't be scarred for life but the doctors aren't certain yet.
"They think the reaction was so much worse because she's so young, so her skin is still very delicate.
"I want to raise awareness, because no one knows how dangerous this plant can be."
Anyone who believes they have come into contact with the plant should wash their skin with soap and water, avoid direct sunlight for 48 hours and seek urgent medical advice.
Featured Image Credit: Caters