By Hollie Bone
The parents of an 11-year-old boy whose Samsung tablet burnt a hole inches from his head while he slept have spoken out about the terrifying ordeal.
Mum Amy Hewkin, 33, was woken last Thursday [JUNE 20] by son Callum, who believed his tablet was stuck to his bed.
Amy and husband Stewart, 32, found the tablet minutes from catching fire and filling their son’s room with white smoke, leaving a melted hole in the his bedding and mattress to the metal springs.
Pic By Stewart Hewkin / Mercury Press and Media
The couple, from Burntwood, Staffs, had no idea their son had snuck the four-year-old gadget into his room after they went to bed, leaving it on charge for up to nine hours, as they enforce a strict no electricals at night rule.
Assistant manager Stewart said: “The last thing anyone wants is to wake up and find their child seriously injured or dead because a tablet or phone has set fire in their room.
“We feel like we’ve had a lucky escape – Callum’s life could have been at risk.
“We had no idea he even had his tablet in his room, he had snuck it into bed with him because he wanted to watch something in bed.
“When I came downstairs in the morning at about 7am, I thought I could smell burning plastic and rubber but dismissed it as we live near factories.
“But the next minute I could hear my wife screaming to come upstairs.
“I went into Callum’s room and there was a big burn mark right by where his head had been, and the room was full of white smoke.
“We have no idea how he didn’t wake up but it goes to show how serious it could have been.
“I was gobsmacked, I never thought it would happen to us or that something like that even could happen – you don’t expect an iPad or tablet to just start burning like that.”
Despite the heavy smoke in Callum’s room, his bedroom door had stopped any of the family’s fire alarms from sounding, meaning they were not alerted to the smouldering tablet until he woke up.
Fire crews told Stewart had the gadget been left for another 10 minutes, it could have started a serious blaze which could even have been fatal for the whole family.
Callum, who was using the original charger with his device, has been left feeling stressed and anxious at school following the ordeal but miraculously escaped uninjured.
Bizarrely, the tablet’s charger and cable were still in perfect condition, with the burn marks contained to the battery area.
Now Stewart has urged other parents to do another check on their kids to make sure they don’t have their tablets or phones with them in bed.
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service have also issued a warning urging people never to leave items to charge on potentially flammable surfaces.
Stewart said: “We went to bed the next night and we didn’t put our phones on charge or anything, we turned off all the plugs by the wall.
“We were terrified it could happen again.
“The plug and cable were still in perfect condition and it can’t be our home’s electrics because they didn’t trip.
“How could this not be a faulty tablet, when the battery itself has basically exploded?
“It is quite terrifying.”
Amy added: “People need to be more aware of the dangers of electrical equipment.
“What has happened is mortifying, but we just want the awareness there.
“So many people put their phones on charge under their pillows every night without realising the risks.
“I am disappointed Callum took the tablet, but even if we had popped our head round the door to see what he was doing we might not have seen it and been able to prevent this as it was under the covers.
“When people buy electricals there should be more safety information provided by companies like Samsung and Apple to prevent these dangers.”