Baby badly scalded by boiling water

A Bexhill baby is seriously ill in hospital after being covered in boiling water in a Rye cafe.

13-month-old Lewis Betts suffered burns to 21 per cent of his body after the incident in Jempson's coffee shop.

He was taken to the Conquest Hospital but later transferred to a specialist burns unit at East Grinstead. He has since been moved to St Thomas' Hospital, London, after picking up an infection and was still there on Wednesday.

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His father, Bexhill postman Dean Betts, said the situation was 'heartbreaking'.

The incident happened last Friday afternoon.

Dean says he believes Lewis was asleep in his pushchair at the time.

Dean, of De La Warr Road, said:"I am not entirely sure how it happened.

There was a tray on the counter above and I saw something move out of the corner of my eye.

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"The next thing there was boiling water on his face, neck, back and chest.

"The staff just stood there. Not one of them offered to help or seemed to know what to do. A lady in the queue took control and shouted at them to get cold water. All they did was hand us a damp cloth.

"We had to shout at them to call an ambulance. It could not have happened in a worse place. The woman who helped us took Lewis into the

kitchen, where there was cold water, and we hosed him down.

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"Not one of the staff there asked about him. They seemed more concerned with mopping the water up from the floor. No one came forward to say they had first aid experience. They just stood there.

"It was the worst experience I have ever had to deal with. To hear him crying out in pain was heartbreaking."

It took 25 minutes for the ambulance to arrive because it had to come from Hastings.

"I can't fault the care he received. The staff at the Conquest were amazing, " said Dean.

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A health and safety inspector is due to visit the shop and the family have sought legal advice.

Dean added: "It is the most upsetting thing I have ever seen. When he looks and tries to reach out to you, but you can't do anything ...

"The doctors are still deciding if he needs a skin graft."

Stephen Jempson, a partner in the cafe, said: "I'm afraid I cannot comment whilst investigations are ongoing, but I can confirm that a first aider was on site at the time of the incident."