Boy, 4, could lose fingertip after it was crushed in park gate

Louie Whitehill, four, had his finger crushed in a playground gate in Chaulden, Hemel Hempstead. He is pictured with dad Lee, 47, mum Jody, 35, and brothers Jem, six, and two-year-old Kit

Louie Whitehill, four, had his finger crushed in a playground gate in Chaulden, Hemel Hempstead. He is pictured with dad Lee, 47, mum Jody, 35, and brothers Jem, six, and two-year-old Kit

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The parents of a four-year-old boy who had his fingertip chopped off by a playground gate say they want to warn other families of the danger.

Lee and Jody Whitehill, of Cemmaes Court Road, Hemel Hempstead, have called for a saftey review of playground gates across Dacorum after their son Louie’s accident at the Chaulden Lane play area, next to Camelot Rugby Club.

Louie Whitehill, four, had his finger crushed in this gate at Chaulden Lane play area, prompting his parents to ask for a safety review of similar gates across Dacorum

Louie Whitehill, four, had his finger crushed in this gate at Chaulden Lane play area, prompting his parents to ask for a safety review of similar gates across Dacorum

Jody, who works for a trade union in London, said: “It was very traumatic for Louie, and for my mum who was looking after him. She said there was a lot of blood.”

Louie was playing with his brothers Jem, six, Kit, two, and cousins Florence, four, and one-year-old Matilda when the incident happened.

His grandmother Monica Mills rushed him to Hemel’s urgent care centre before he was transferred to Stoke Mandeville Hospital where he had the tip of his ring finger on his left hand reattached.

But doctors have told the family that it is 90 per cent likely the operation will not work as the tip was too badly crushed, which means Louie may have to endure more surgery before he starts full-time school in September.

Due to his bandaged hand, the left-handed youngster cannot feed himself, dress himself or go to the toilet on his own so is having to be helped.

Jody, 35, has spoken to Dacorum Borough Council about her concerns, saying: “I’m losing sleep over it at night, because each day the gate goes without being replaced, the more likely it is that it could happen to another child.

“It’s very worrying. Louie’s finger won’t ever be the same again.”

A council spokesman said: “Safety of children using our play areas is of highest importance to us and we are investigating the cause of the accident.”