Hair straightener burns amongst under fives rising, UK

Most parents think of electrical sockets and irons when asked about dangers to young children in the home but, unknown to parents, new and unexpected risks from modern home gadgets such as hair straighteners are posing a growing threat to toddlers’ safety.

While overall accident rates have started to decline, figures highlighted by the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) show a 50 per cent rise in the number of under fives admitted to hospital due to contact burns over the last ten years.

With the increasing popularity of hair straighteners, hospitals are treating increasing numbers of children with serious burns.

Hair straighteners can reach temperatures of 220 oC, so can burn children as badly as an iron. They can also still burn children up to eight minutes after they have been unplugged. As young children’s skin is fifteen times thinner than an adult’s, burns from hair straighteners can cause permanent scarring.

Keith Judkins, Chairman of the British Burns Association says, “We are increasingly concerned about the number of hair straightener burns amongst under fives that Burns Centres throughout the country are seeing. Young children have such delicate skin, which means the burns can be particularly severe. Hot drinks are another cause of scalds amongst young children that we are seeing far too often.”

A poll by online mums’ portal, NetMums, commissioned by CAPT to mark the launch of Child Safety Week (Monday 22 to Sunday 28 June), showed mums are unaware of the threats from modern day home hazards. Topping the list of their concerns were electrical sockets ? which due to legislation do not pose a significant threat to young children4 ? with almost one in five mums feeling their child was at risk of being hurt. In contrast, only one in 13 worried about hair straighteners.

Katrina Phillips, Chief Executive of the Child Accident Prevention Trust, says: “With the rapid pace of modern life and the speed at which children develop, it can be a challenge for parents to stay one step ahead in preventing serious accidents.

“It’s often the small changes that make all the difference. The trick is to make them a habit ? like putting your straighteners in the same place out of young children’s reach ? that way you’ll feel less like you constantly need eyes in the back of your head. Child Safety Week helps alert parents to these changes and the simple steps they can take to make their homes safer for children”.

Source: Child Accident Prevention Trust, UK

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