Giant hogweed warning as girl, 4, suffers horrific burns while playing in park

15 June 2022, 15:50

A four-year-old girl suffered horrific burns from a giant hogweed plant in Bolton.
A four-year-old girl suffered horrific burns from a giant hogweed plant in Bolton. Picture: Hardy Mill Primary School/Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

A primary school has issued an urgent warning about giant hogweed after a four-year-old girl suffered horrific burns.

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The toddler touched the hazardous plant while playing in Longsight Park in the Harwood area of Bolton on Saturday, June 5.

She suffered severe blistering and was admitted to hospital.

The incident led to her school issuing a warning to parents to be aware of the plant and what it looks like, to prevent any further injuries.

In a statement, Hardy Mill Primary School said: "One of our children has sadly been in contact with this plant over the half term break and ended up at the hospital with second degree burns. Please look out for this plant in your garden and when out and about with your children.

"We have been informed that this plant is definitely growing in Longsight Park. It would be helpful to show your children what this plant looks like so they can avoid coming into contact with it.”

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A four-year-old girl suffered severe burns.
A four-year-old girl suffered severe burns. Picture: Hardy Mill Primary School

Adele Warren, the Conservative councillor for Breightmet in Bolton, also shared a warning following the incident.

She posted on Facebook: "This is a plant that is becoming more prevalent so it is important to understand what it is and not touch it or go anywhere near it.

"The council does treat along public footpaths on council land and this can be reported to however this plant is becoming part of the environment and needs to be recognised and avoided."

Giant hogweed, officially called Haracleum Mantegazzanium, is invasive and potentially harmful, and has been described as Britain's "most dangerous plant".

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A giant hogweed warning has been issued in the area.
A giant hogweed warning has been issued in the area. Picture: Alamy

Chemicals in the plant's sap can cause photodermatitis or photosensitivity, where the skin becomes very sensitive to sunlight and may suffer blistering, pigmentation and long-lasting scars.

The plant was introduced to Britain in the 19th century and can reach a height of 3.5m, spreading across 1-2m.

The flowers are white and in clusters, all facing upwards.

A spokesperson for Bolton Council told The Bolton News it had sent an officer to check for the hazardous plant in Longsight Park.

They said they haven't had any reports of giant hogweed in the area, and it isn't somewhere they've had it in the past.

People can easily brush up against hogweed without realising, developing blisters and rashes as well as painful inflamed areas.

Those worst affected could suffer with skin irritation for months or years after making contact with the plant.

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