Scarred … Ava Lyons suffered severe burns to her hand and face after a portable DVD player caught fire while she was travelling in the family car.A Bendigo mother has spoken of the horror of learning her three-year-old daughter had suffered severe burns when a portable DVD player exploded in her lap in the family car.

“It kills me that I couldn’t be there when she needed me,” Amber Lyons told the Bendigo Advertiser.

“It’s every parent’s nightmare, first to be told that it had happened, but secondly, to have witnessed it.”

Mrs Lyons’ husband, Heath, and their daughter, Ava, were travelling towards Rochester on July 21 when he noticed a burning smell in the car.

Mr Lyons pulled to the side of the road to investigate, suspecting the smell had come from the car bonnet.

Suddenly, he witnessed a flash inside the car and ran to the door to find his daughter screaming with some of her clothing on fire.

Mr Lyons quickly pulled his daughter from the car and used her apple drink to extinguish the flames.

He said the explosion, which originated from the sealed battery compartment of the device, left Ava’s padded seatbelt covers smouldering, as well as a soft toy she had sitting with her.

Ava, who was flown from Rochester to the Royal Children’s Hospital, suffered partial thickness burns to her right hand, as well as superficial burns to her cheeks, lips, nose, eye lids and eyebrows.

“At this stage Heath is quite shaken by the event and is understandably experiencing some stress and anxiety at witnessing his daughter sustain such horrendous injuries,” Mrs Lyons said.

“No one wants to see their kid on fire.”

Since the incident, Ava has travelled to the Royal Children’s Hospital once a week to visit a cosmetic surgeon and burns specialist to undergo routine assessment and, according to mum, is on the mend.

But the scars go beyond those skin deep.

“During the day, she’s great but during the night she will have nightmares, dreaming she is on fire and thrash around,” Mrs Lyons said.

“She will come to me and ask, ‘Mummy, will the fire get me again?'”

Mrs Lyons is now calling for parents to think twice about allowing children to use the portable devices.

A recall notice was issued on the Dick Smith branded DVD player at the weekend, stating “fears its internal battery could overheat, ignite and burn users”.

“Almost everyone we know with children owns these devices to keep the kids occupied in the car – we had no idea the batteries were so volatile,” Mrs Lyons said.

“It’s too early at this stage to determine how Ava’s injuries, both physical and emotional, will heal.”

– Bendigo Advertiser

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