A plastic surgeon has blamed a social media trend for a dramatic increase in young people suffering serious burns.
Paul Drake, a consultant at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, West Sussex, said he was treating “two to three cases a week, sometimes more” during July and August.
He said a trend that started on social media, in which people put aerosol cans on fires, was behind the injuries.
In many cases the cans have exploded, leaving some people with major burns.
Sunny Willink said her son Alfie – who suffered serious burns after putting an aerosol can on a fire – was “just having fun with his friends”.
He is now being treated at the Queen Victoria Hospital.
Mr Drake said he had seen some injuries with “potentially devastating effects with lifelong scarring and disability”.
Although the majority of injuries do heal without any major long-term complications, he said the hospital was also treating injuries that required surgery.
Mr Drake said he had no doubt social media was behind the increase in cases.
“All of these stunts are captured on video and uploaded to streaming platforms where they’re consumed over a huge audience,” he said.
“The feedback that is given through likes and shares – and the celebrity you can achieve – that adds a fuel which wouldn’t necessarily have been there 20 years ago.”