Hair straighteners pose child burn risk

Joshua's arm was accidentally injured by hair straighteners that had just been turned off

Ten-month-old Joshua is one of hundreds of children admitted to hospital each year after being burned by hair straighteners.

He was injured by straighteners that fell off a table and on to his arm. They had just been turned off but were still extremely hot.

UK burns units say one in 20 of all admissions for children’s burns last year involved hair straighteners.

They are warning parents to be extra careful.

‘Thinner skin’

Figures from the international burns injury database show there were 392 child admissions to specialist units in the UK in 2015 for injuries that involved hair straighteners.

And charity Electrical Safety First says the majority of incidents occur when toddlers touch, grab or tread on hot hair straightener plates.

It says hair straighteners and curling irons can reach temperatures of 235C and can stay hot for up to 40 minutes after being switched off.

Emma Apter from Electrical Safety First, said: “Parents have to juggle many tasks in the morning and while we don’t want to add to that list, it is vital that hair straighteners are kept out of reach of small hands and feet.

“We are urging manufacturers to play their part in protecting consumers by providing safe storage for their products.”

Paul Fuller, of the Children’s Burns Trust, warned that children are at greater risk of burns as their skin can be 15 times thinner than that of adults.

He added: “A burn or scald at this age could need years of repeated surgery as the child grows, because scarred tissue does not grow with them.”

Luckily for Joshua after three weeks in bandages, his arm is healing well.

His mother Josie (whose full name we are not using) says doctors will keep an eye on her son’s arm and watch for any scarring.

She is relieved he is now playing as usual and using it happily.

She says she was shocked and panicked when the accident happened.

“It happened in a split second. I was getting ready for work and had turned the straighteners off and put them on a table he couldn’t reach.

“Joshua had only just started to crawl and I underestimated how quickly he could get across the room to the table.

“He pulled at the cord and they fell.

“I had no idea they could stay so hot when they were switched off. More people need to be aware of this.”

Serious burns – what to do:

  • Cool the burn with running cold tap water for 20 minutes and remove all clothing and jewellery (unless it is melted or firmly stuck to the wound).
  • Call for help: 999, 111 or local GP for advice.
  • Cover with Clingfilm or a sterile, non-fluffy dressing or cloth. Make sure the patient is kept warm.

Source; BBC