Urgent action needed to protect children from hair straighteners burns

CAPT is supporting the work of the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) with a nationwide campaign about the dangers of hair straighteners.

Our campaign aims to raise awareness of the danger among parents and lobby manufacturers and retailers to do more to protect children from burns.

Hair straightener burns double

In recent years the number of children being treated for burns from hair straighteners has doubled. They now account for up to 1 in 10 burns injuries to children.

Most injuries occur when crawling babies and toddlers grab at them, step on them, sit on them or pull them down onto their faces. Burns to a baby’s hands carry the risk of long-term disability from contractures and scarring.  Burns to the face carry the risk of permanent disfigurement.

Katrina Phillips, Chief Executive of the Child Accident Prevention Trust said:

“Parents don’t know that hair straighteners can get as hot as their iron. Toddlers are into everything but don’t know that heat hurts. Add in the chaos of getting everyone ready and out of the house, and it’s no surprise these horrible burns are on the increase.
"We urge parents to keep hair straighteners out of reach and store them away safely – in a heat proof pouch if you can."

A lack of heat-proof pouches

Many straighteners reach temperatures of up to 235°C and stay hot for up to 15 minutes after being switched off. They are often sold without heat-proof pouches or information about preventing burns. What’s more, many leading retailers don’t stock pouches for parents to purchase separately.

Emma Apter from the Electrical Safety Council said:

“It’s really worrying that retailers and manufacturers are selling products that can reach 235°C without explaining the dangers of not storing them properly. Retailers and manufacturers must do more to protect their customers.”

Get involved in the campaign

We need your help to spread the message to frontline teams and raise awareness among parents. On our hair straighteners campaign page you’ll find a simple five step plan, key safety messages and ideas for running discussion sessions with parents.

  • Can you include a link to this page in your communications to your children’s centres and health visiting teams, or in your next newsletter?
  • Can your public health team promote the campaign to their contacts?
  • Perhaps your local hospital can get behind the campaign?

Why not share the direct people to the ESC’s Beauty Burns page where they can watch the hard-hitting video on the damage hair straighteners? Or show your staff this video showing how hair straighteners get hot enough to cook bacon.

Resources to buy

Our new flyer: Keep hair straighteners out of my reach includes essential first aid information on burns and is a great way to get safety messages across to parents.

We’re also including 20 copies of the hair straighteners flyer in our popular Too hot to handle DVD.

Updated February 2014