Girl, five, impaled by shard of glass at Haven Point
A mother has hit out after her daughter was left hospitalised with glass embedded in her foot after a swimming trip.
Little Ruby Hills, five, needed to undergo an operation after the shard of glass ripped through the muscles and nerves of her foot.
Since then the youngster, who attends Westoe Crown Primary, has been unable to take part in activities she once enjoyed as she waits for her injury to heal.
Ruby had been with her mum Rachel and brother Oliver, six, at Haven Point, in South Shields, when she stood on glass as she made her way from the pool to the changing rooms.
Rachel, 27, from Laurel Grove, Cleadon Park, said: “We’d been in the pool and my nephew started to become unsettled due to the water being too cold for him.
“I told my brother I would take him out and get him changed but he had the locker key for his stuff.
“We couldn’t leave the kids in the pool on their own so I asked them to get out and come with me.
“We were in the changing rooms when Ruby said she thought she stood on a stone, I didn’t really look at that point and said I’d look at it in a minute.
“She kept saying her foot hurt I turned round and saw there was just a pool of blood.
“I don’t know if she has done it in the changing room or if she has done it on her way from the pool.”
The mum of three said she shouted for help and her brother, Kenny Archer, ran to get a member of staff as blood still poured from the wound.
“When the guy came, he did try his best but it just felt like he didn’t know what he was doing, he was just wrapping bandages around her foot. There was blood and bandages everywhere.
“She was losing a lot of blood and was going grey.”
Ruby was taken to hospital where an x-ray discovered a peice of glass was embedded in her foot.
The glass was removed but, due to where the injury was, it was unable to be stitched.
Mrs Hills added: “Since it’s happened she has had nightmares and is terrified of going back into the pool.
“We had the kids to the park the other day and while they were all playing she had to sit at the side with adults. She is unable to go to school, she can’t ride her new pony and I was unable to start a new job on Monday because I had to be with Ruby.
“The pool are not accepting any fault on their part. They said someone must have brought it in with their shoe. You have to remove your shoes before you go into the changing room, so they need to make sure it is safe.
“I contacted the centre a number of times and I just felt like I was getting passed from pillar to post. No one was getting back to me.
“I went down on Saturday, Ruby came with me and she was terrfied even to go into reception.
“I spoke to someone who I assumed was the manager and he said he didn’t know anything about it.
“I then spoke to someone else who said if I wanted to put a claim in to speak to a solicitor.
“Ruby is terrified to go swimming again and we have no idea if there will be any lasting damage.
“The doctor has told us we have to wait and see when it heals, but they have said their biggest concern is infection with being unable to stitch it.
“They are asking people to remove their shoes when they are in the changing room. They really should be making sure the area is safe.”
A spokesperson for South Tyneside Council said: “As soon as staff were made aware that Ruby had hurt her foot she was examined and treated by a lifeguard, all of whom are first aid trained.
“Whilst it was reported that Ruby had cut her foot in the changing area, possibly on a stone, there was no visible sign of an embedded object, this only became apparent through a later x-ray.
“The injury was correctly treated and the family were offered the aid of an ambulance.
“Immediately after, a full and thorough check of the area was undertaken and no sharp objects were found in either the pool or changing rooms. In addition, there were no further reports of any similar incidents.
“We firmly and actively discourage people from bringing glass items into the changing rooms and our general cleaning records show that the area had been regularly checked and cleaned during the day.
“We have spoken to Ruby’s mother since her accident and reassured her that this is an isolated incident. We do everything reasonable to ensure that our customers are safe and there is a permanent staffing presence in the changing area to maintain a high standard of cleanliness and safety.
“We wish Ruby a speedy recovery and would ask visitors to refrain from bringing glass items into any of the council’s leisure facilities.”