Little girl hit in face with firework
A SPRING Grove mum is determined to raise awareness about the dangers of fireworks after her young daughter was struck in the face by a stray shell at a Lismore event.
Jenna Collier's four-year-old daughter Echo was injured when she and the rest of her family were enjoying Carols by Candlelight at Oakes Oval in December.
They were watching the fireworks display when the unexpected occurred.
"We were sitting on a blanket near the grandstand and Echo started screaming and said someone hit her in the face," Ms Collier said.
"She was crying a lot and we noticed a fireworks shell on the ground near her and a big welt a few centimetres from her eye.
"Luckily it didn't hit her eye, thank God."
Ms Collier rushed her daughter to the event's first-aid tent.
"The people there said 'you'd be surprised to see how many people are injured at firework shows'," she said.
"While we were there another little girl came up with much the same injury.
"The shell that hit Echo was still so hot we couldn't handle it."
Despite the heat, medical staff said Echo's injuries were a result of the force of the shell hitting her face.
Ms Collier said Lismore City Council staff were informed of the incident on the night and called the following morning to check Echo was okay.
Now, almost two months later, Echo has healed physically but still fears fireworks displays.
"We're going to Disneyland soon and she says she doesn't want to go if there's fireworks. It makes me sad," Ms Collier said.
"She hears a loud noise and is scared because she thinks it's fireworks.
"It's a bit scary. If she was a baby and we were sitting halfway closer than we were, maybe it could kill."
Ms Collier said despite the nature of the incident, maybe some good would come of it.
"Maybe the reason it happened was to raise awareness about fireworks injuries and how we can prevent them," she said.
Lismore council's events officer Leanne Clark said the council had not heard of a similar incident.
"An internal investigation was conducted and the incident was reported to WorkCover as required under legislation," she said. "We will go through a full and detailed process to see how something like this could have occurred and any additional controls that are identified will be implemented."
WorkCover NSW confirmed it had investigated the incident and issued the contractor with an Explosives Directive.
This reiterates that the pyrotechnics contractor must comply with WorkCover NSW's operational conditions.