Rise in number of children who suffer hair straightener burns
A BRISTOL hospital has seen a rise in children being treated for burns injuries caused by handling hair straighteners.
Frenchay Hospital is one of four UK regional specialist centres for the treatment of burns in the under-16s and dealt with 421 patients in 2011.
But a plastic surgeon at the hospital said there had been a rise in cases of children receiving two burns after grabbing hold of hair straighteners, pictured, in the home.
Andy Williams said that it always used to be that where a child had suffered two separate burns it would not be treated as an accident.
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The most common burns injuries suffered by youngsters are scald injuries, often as a result of youngsters pulling tea or coffee over themselves. These injuries tend to account for 70 to 80 per cent of children treated at the hospital, with at least 90 per cent happening in the home.
Mr Williams said: "Usually kids have poured tea or coffee on themselves, there are a few kids playing with matches when they should not be or hair straighteners that their parents have left around.
"What we see typically happening is hair straighteners being used in the bedroom and left on the floor and they come back in and either step on the hair straighteners or a toddler will wander past and grab the hair straighteners.
"We have seen some unusual injuries from that. There are two panels of hot metal so there are two burns and when we first saw that happen in children, two burns usually means it is not an accident.
"I would say the arm or hand where they get themselves with the hair straighteners has become more common since hair straighteners have been used more commonly.
"In kids we have had quite deep burns from hair straighteners. They don't tend to be that large because of the area of contact but I have seen some quite big ones and some that might leave scars."
Mr Williams said that as with pulling tea or coffee from counters, parents sometimes do not realise their toddlers can reach hair straighteners that have been left on dressers.
And he said certain types of burns injuries tend to be more seasonal – such as those caused by older children setting items on fire.
Frenchay Hospital saw 300 adult patients in 2011 and Mr Williams said the type of burns injuries they suffer have changed in recent years.
"Adults are a little different. We rarely see these days burns from car accidents and industrial accidents because of the PPE and employers' liabilities because they know if employees are injured they could get sued," he said.
"It can be elderly people having falls around the home, for instance falls where they are unable to get up and are perhaps against a radiator or if they fall in the bath and could scald themselves."