,Muscle damage from a chemical burn caused by hand sanitiser means James Lapthorn has been left with a droopy left eye. Tweet Facebook Mail The surface of a three-year-old boy's eye was "completely burnt off" after he received chemical burns while using a hand sanitiser foot pedal dispenser at a New Zealand restaurant.Nearly two months after the incident, where the sanitiser sprayed into his left eye causing corneal epithelial damage, James Lapthorn's vision has now improved after being "totally impaired" in the one eye, his mother, Liz Partridge said.The family's doctor said his eye has healed to about 90 per cent, but until he is older and able to do more sophisticated eye testing, it's unknown how badly his long-sighted vision has been affected.Read more: Warning: Don't try to make your own hand sanitiserJames Lapthorn, 3, received chemical burns in his eye from using a hand sanitiser foot pump. (Supplied/Stuff)Ms Partridge is also warning other parents and businesses about the potential safety risk of the dispensers, which are at eye line for young children, and is questioning the need for them, given sanitiser is applied after a hand pump is used."It was bloody frightening," she said. "We didn't sleep for three nights as he was crying in pain constantly and that was with full doses of painkillers. He couldn't open his eyes."RelatedTODAY IN HISTORY: Vincent van Gogh cuts off his left earDonald Trump announces wave of pardonsBiden receives first dose of coronavirus vaccineImmediately after the incident at La Saigon restaurant in Wellington on October 30, Ms Partridge took James to after hours, where he was given eye drops and sent home.The next morning, she took him to hospital."James couldn't open his eye and it had swollen enormously and had gunk from infection," she said.Since then, he has required weeks of hospital and specialist visits, steroids, antibiotics and eye drops four times a day.James with his dad in hospital receiving treatment for the injury. (Supplied/Stuff)The ongoing damage to James’ long-sighted vision is not able to be determined due to his age and ability to conduct some eye tests. (Supplied/Stuff)Ms Partridge posted a warning to other parents online, saying she would be "heartbroken" if the distressing incident happened to any other children.She was prompted to share the incident publicly after visiting a local swimming pool, where she saw there was also a dispenser.A Wellington City Council spokeswoman said it has since removed all the dispensers from their facilities, but it hasn't received any complaints about any other incidents.La Saigon manager Ayushma Nakarmi said when the incident happened staff apologised to the family and provided water to flush out his eye.She said the dispenser, which is popular with customers, is still set up at the restaurant and will remain there, unless they are told to remove it by council or Worksafe."People are really happy they have a pedal one, this accident could happen to anyone, it should be a precaution a parent should take, not us. We can't control the kids," she said.Ms Nakarmi said the restaurant is required to offer hand sanitiser due to COVID-19 and that no other complaints had been received about the dispenser."We have hundreds of people coming [through] every day, in hospitality we cannot satisfy everyone," she said.Ms Partridge said whenever she sees the dispensers she shares James' story and urges shop owners to not be complacent and encourages them to have a warning for parents.James has spent weeks visiting doctors and has 90 per cent healed nearly two months after the incident. (Supplied/Stuff)"Ideally they'd simply take it away and use hand pump bottles. It doesn't seem right that something that can be so harmful, and actually alluring for curious children, is placed in their direct reach," she said.Worksafe said it received notification about the incident and is making inquiries."It is likely we will engage with the business via letter to ensure health and safety obligations are understood and being met," a Worksafe spokeswoman said.A spoke *** an from Regional Public Health said it has not received any reports of hand-sanitiser related chemical injuries.From January 1 to May 17 this year, the National Poisons Centre received a spike in calls related to exposure of hand sanitiser products among children aged 0 to 5 years, compared to the same period the previous year.Earlier this year, the Ministry of Education advised early childhood centres that hand sanitiser, like other disinfectants, should be kept out of reach of children and only used with supervision.This article originally appeared on Stuff and has been reproduced with permission.
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