Burns and scalds

The data

  • the fourth highest cause of hospital admissions for the under-fives
  • the injuries can be disabling and disfiguring and are expensive to treat
  • hot drinks cause the majority of the injuries - admissions peak at age 12 to 23 months.  Drinks can still burn after 15 minutes.
  • hot bathwater causes the most serious injuries
  • 21% of admissions from bathwater scalds are for more than three days
  • other significant causes of burns/scalds are hot water on cookers, kettles, radiators and pipes and hair straighteners
  • the risks change as the child develops eg. reach extends

What to do

  • education plus fitting a thermostatic mixing valve (TMV) is the most effective approach for preventing bathwater scalds
  • children who are taught kitchen safety behaviour are significantly less likely to attend hospital from a scald

Antenatal, new birth and at 9 month health review

  • consider getting a thermostatic mixing valve (TMV) fitted to regulate bathwater temperature
  • put cold water in first when running a bath and check the temperature before bathing a baby
  • don't leave another child in bath to care for baby
  • keep hot drinks well out of reach of babies
  • keep the baby away from cookers, kettles etc
  • be aware that scalding risks increase when babies are able to climb (especially in kitchen)

2 to 2 1/2 year universal health review

  • teach children kitchen safety rules about hot things, not climbing and what to do/not do when adults are cooking
  • keep toddlers away from hot drinks, cookers, kettles, barbecues etc.