A BABY faces surgery and could be scarred for life after being hit by debris from a firework at a school display.
Four-month-old Lillie-Rose Emery was taken to her first show by dad Daniel and mum Serena Elson, as part of a family evening out.
However, celebrations turned to horror as the couple realised their tot’s screams earlier in the night had not been out of fear of the fireworks, but a burn to her head.
Medics at Sunderland Royal’s A&E department confirmed the injury was caused by a firework and say she has suffered nerve damage.
The family are set to see a plastic surgeon at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary today.
A lump of ash was also found in her snowsuit, which along with Lillie-Rose’s dress, has been left with burn holes.
The couple, of Southwick, say they had concerns for how the display was run and believe the crowd of about 400 was too close to where the fireworks were being set off, at Wednesday’s event put on by Town End Academy and the estate’s residents’ association.
Serena, 21, who is also mum to Cian Elson, two, said: “When the fireworks started going off, she screamed and I thought she was scared and took her further back.
“When we got back to the car we saw the marks on her snowsuit.
“We didn’t know what had happened to her. We are just devastated, it was her first fireworks display.” The couple were in hospital until 11.30pm, where Lillie-Rose was given a course of antibiotics and paracetamol to help her recover.
They met with the school’s headteacher yesterday to discuss what happened.
Serena said: “They say they’re sorry, but that’s not going to make up for what’s happened.
“They said they would pay for her clothes, but it’s not about her clothes, it’s about my daughter.”
Daniel, 22, added: “The fireworks were right over our heads and sticks and debris was falling around us.
“There were newborns and ones smaller than her in the crowd.
“We’ve been told it might take her years to recover. She’s lucky she’s a girl so she can grow her hair over it, but it looks like it’ll be permanent.”
A spokesman for Town End Academy said: “We sympathise with the family and hope Lillie-Rose is feeling better.
“Town End Academy has successfully organised this hugely-popular firework display for the past four years with no reported incidents, and they follow all safety guidelines with trained first aid staff on hand.
“If the incident had been reported to us at the time, we could have administered first aid immediately.
“These events are subject to rigorous planning procedures and yearly approval by Multi Agency Events Group, which includes police and fire officer representatives.”