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How can you protect your family from burn injuries in the home?
- AuthorSymron Amani
Each month 288 children are admitted to an NHS Burns Service, an alarming figure caused by incidents that could be avoided. 19th October was National Burn Awareness Day, a day organised by British Burns Association filled with activities to raise awareness of how burn injuries can be prevented in the home, where 77% of burn injuries occur for children.
Symron Amani, a Claims Handler in our Personal Injury team, commented, “According to the International Burns Injury Database, the most common cause of a burn injury during 2015 was from spillages of hot drinks or during cooking, accounting for 31% of burn injuries. This was followed by 18% being caused by contact with hot objects such as heaters, irons and hair straighteners. Using accelerants in barbecues or bonfires led to 11% of injuries with fires from flammable clothing near candles and cigarettes contributing to 7%. While we talk about percentages and statistics, it’s important to remember that these numbers are children who have been injured and have had their lives irreparably changed, so any steps that can be taken to prevent these must be done.”
Hair straighteners were a focus for this years’ National Burn Awareness Day, with Electrical Safety First highlighting that nearly 1 in 10 parents of under 5’s have had their child suffer a serious burn from their hair straighteners or tongs. “Hair straighteners account for 1 in 20 of all admissions to specialist paediatric burn units, which isn’t surprising when they can reach over 220 degrees and take up to 40 minutes to cool down, staying hot enough to burn up to 15 minutes after they’ve been switched off,” explains Symron. “Children are more susceptible to burns from straighteners as they may be crawling on the floor or pull them down from an area above them while they are being left to cool, and will not be aware not to touch them until it’s too late.”
Child Prevention Trust produced a video two years ago demonstrating how hot straighteners can get, which is hot enough to cook bacon and eggs. “We all have busy lives, and when we have young children they are even busier and so certain things can be overlooked,” concludes Symron. “There are simple measures we can take however to help reduce these burn injuries. With straighteners, make sure that when they are being left to cool this is not done on the floor, but out of reach with no wires hanging down so children can pull them. Proper storage of matches, lighters and chemical cleaning products is essential, and when cooking ensure saucepans are kept at the back of the stove with handles turned towards the back. To avoid scolds, ensure hot drinks are kept out of reach and not drunk with children in the vicinity, and test the temperature of bathing water before the child is put in.”
The average cost to the NHS for a major burn is £168,155, but the cost physically and emotionally to someone who suffers with this injury is not able to be calculated. There may be multiple surgeries needed and any scars could be carried for life. For more information on how you can avoid these injuries in the home, or to discuss an accident that you have had, you can contact Symron on 023 8071 7452 or email her on firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact the Injury team on 0800 91 92 30 or email email@example.com.
This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice. All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.
About the British Burn Association (BBA):
The BBA is a non-profit making organisation whose membership is made up of those people interested in taking forward the Aims of the Association which are burn prevention, and the propagation of knowledge on the best treatment and rehabilitation following a burn injury.
The Association organises educational events and an annual scientific meeting to provide a forum for both members and non-members.
National Burn Awareness Day on 19th October 2016 is the third one organised by the BBA Prevention Committee.