A 5-year-old boy who was badly burned in an accident in Te Kuiti is steadily recovering in hospital.

The youngster suffered burns to 35 per cent of his body on Friday night when his shirt was set alight by a gas heater.

The boy's screams alerted his family who put him under a cold shower and called emergency services.

He was taken to Waikato Hospital in a critical condition, but transferred to Middlemore Hospital on Saturday.

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He was being treated by burns specialists at the hospital's intensive care unit, and a Middlemore spokeswoman said he is now in a stable condition and is no longer critical.