Doctors were forced to decontaminate Aisling Stitt’s skin at the Sick Kids hospital on Wednesday evening after she paddled in the stream at Braidburn Valley Park with a holiday club.
The nine-year-old was one of three children left with irritated skin following the outing, which is organised annually by Central Leith After School Provision (Clasp).
Aisling’s mother, Heather, believes her daughter was burned by contaminated water but the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has tested the stream and found no evidence of chemicals being discharged. Just hours after Aisling returned to her Lochend home, the youngster began complaining of sore skin.
Initially, Heather thought her legs were in pain because she had been wearing new wellies, but when she removed her leggings, she was “horrified” to discover her skin “red and irritated”.
Heather said: “Aisling wasn’t really herself when we got home and I just didn’t like the look of her legs so I decided to take her to the hospital. I’m so thankful I did now because I never thought for a minute she had an alkaline chemical burn. Her skin looked like it was covered in a red rash.”
On arrival at the hospital, doctors carried out a litmus test and found her skin was testing at ph8 when it should have been ph5.
Heather said: “She had to go up to one of the wards and sit in the shower for half an hour while they decontaminated her skin. She was screaming as it hurt so much. It took a layer of skin off and she had to be covered in bandages.
“She is doing OK but she is still very sore and upset by what happened. The doctor said she was very lucky.”
Two other children also experienced rashes and blisters following the outing. However, they did not require hospital treatment.
Aisling is now recovering at home, but her mother wants to warn other parents and pet owners about the potential risks.
Heather added: “The staff at the holiday club are devastated this has happened but I don’t blame them at all because this is a normal thing they do every year. Aisling does have very sensitive skin but I’d just like to warn others parents and dog owners to be careful around that area.”
Mima Harvey, acting project manager of Clasp, said she had e-mailed all parents who had children on the trip that day.
A Sepa spokesman said: “Sepa officers have carried out an investigation of the Braid Burn following a report that chemical-like burns had appeared on children playing in the watercourse.
“On inspection of the watercourse, general water quality was found to be good, with no evidence to suggest that chemicals had been discharged or accidentally sprayed into the burn.
“Sepa officers will continue to liaise with the Hermitage ranger service and the local authority’s environmental health team to ensure the Braid Burn is monitored for any potential discharges which might impact on the watercourse.”