A two-year-old girl screamed in agony as she suffered horrific burns when she stood on boiling hot sand where a disposable BBQ had been lit up.
Little Sadie was rushed to hospital after stepping barefoot on the patch of scorching sand while playing on the beach.
Her auntie, Jo Paic, 43, told the Essex Gazette: "She (Sadie) had taken her little rubber shoes off as the stones kept getting caught in them and she didn't like it.
"The next thing we heard was crying – she was barely two metres in front of us. She then started screaming. A scream that you know a kid makes when something bad has happened."
Jo said she immediately started dousing little Sadie's feet, before soon realising what had happened at Shoebury East Beach in Thorpe Bay, Essex.
She said: "We suddenly realised that she'd stood on the exact spot where the neighbour's tin barbecue had been.
"I'm not looking to attribute blame, it could have been any of us. But if you take a portable barbecue down to the beach please make sure that when you've finished you douse it underneath as well as on top of it.
"You never know who is going to sit down or stand in that spot when you've left."
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Local authority Southend Council said no ban is currently in place for barbecues where the incident took place.
Councillor Martin Terry, councillor for public protection, told the Gazette: "This incident is truly horrifying, and I hope the young girl makes a swift recovery.
"This was completely avoidable, but unfortunately this brave young girl has suffered due to inconsiderate disposal of a barbecue on the beach.
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"I know the people responsible would in no way have looked to cause harm to anyone, but this unfortunately serves a stark reminder that we all need to take the appropriate precautions when disposing of barbecues in public areas."
The council said it had launched a consultation earlier this year asking residents about their thoughts about use of barbecues in public spaces.
Cllr Terry added: "While there are no bylaws in place for us to enforce not having barbecues on beaches, we have used signage and public engagement to try and manage the issue as best we can, including moving people away from large crowds and busy areas for example, and encouraging responsible disposal, including cooling down the sand the barbecues sit on with water.
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"Whilst the responses to the recent barbecue consultation are collated and considered and any potential actions are taken forward, I would urge everybody to please think about this incident and act responsibly and think of others if having barbecues in public areas."
It comes as a mother issued a warning about the heat after her baby boy suffered burns to his feet by simply standing on the kitchen floor in last weekend's heatwave.
Nurse Natasha Trevethan, from Plymouth, Devon, shared pictures of her son's burnt feet on Facebook on Wednesday.
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