Hair straighteners called out as child safety risk

Posted Oct 23, 2016 by Tim Sandle
Hair straighteners pose a risk to children in relation to burns and the number of incidences are increasing, according to an investigation by a British charity.
Hair being straightened with a hair iron.
Hair being straightened with a hair iron.
In the U.K. several hundred children are admitted to hospital each year due to burns from hair straighteners. While a recent report focuses on Britain, the risks extend worldwide. The new warning comes from the charity Electrical Safety First.
In a statement, Emma Apter from Electrical Safety First highlights: “It’s worrying that many of us are taking risks with hair tools can get as hot as an iron.The research shows that many parents are not storing products like straighteners properly or keeping them out of children’s way."
Deflecting some criticism away from busy parents, Apter shines the spotlight towards manufacturers: "We are urging manufacturers to play their part in protecting consumers by providing safe storage for their products.”
The warnings by the charity are supported by data collated by the U.K. hospital burns units. This information indicates that one in 20 of all admissions for children's burns in 2015 involved hair straighteners. This totals 392 cases in one twelve month period. The full-set of reasons for children being admitted to hospital for serious burns in the U.K. are (source - Children's Burns Trust):
Tea cups - 1446 admissions
Unrecorded - 678
Electric hobs - 503
Other hot fluids - 440
Coffee cups - 397
Hair straighteners - 392
Iron/clothes press - 333
Kettle spill - 308
Radiators - 242
A serious burn is defined as: contact which broke the skin, caused the skin to blister, or left a permanent scar.
To highlight the problem posed by hair straighteners, the BBC reports of one case involving a ten-month-old boy called Joshua. The young child was injured by straighteners that fell off a table and landed on his arm. Although the straighteners had recently been switched off they were still extremely hot; hot enough to cause a serious injury.