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Reducing the risks of accidental burns

In 2017, more than 3500 children required admission to an NHS Burns Service following a scald from hot drinks or kettles. That’s nearly 290 children per month!

A hot drink can still scald a small child up to 15 minutes after it was first poured, and over 50 per cent of all hospital admissions in children are due to them being burnt by a hot drink.

To reduce the risk of such accidents at home, there are some small changes you can make:

  • Keep young children out of the kitchen when you’re busy or there are lots of people around
  • Check pan handles on the hob aren’t sticking out where they could be reached or knocked off
  • Check you put hot drinks down on a surface out of reach of small hands- not on top of tea towels that could be pulled by a child
  • When running a bath for your child, always put the cold water in first. This will prevent scald burns if they accidentally fall in, as well as contact burns from the actual heat of the bathtub.


Other burn risks

A growing number of children are receiving severe burns from hair straighteners. Even 30 minutes after being unplugged, hair straighteners retain enough heat to severely burn a small child’s skin, which is up to 15 times thinner than an adult’s skin.

Hair Straighteners

Button batteries and dishwasher tablets can cause potentially fatal corrosive burns. Keep these securely locked away. Check all toys that operate on the small button batteries to ensure your child can’t open them and get hold of the batteries. If you think that your child has swallowed a button battery, take them to A&E immediately.

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Page last reviewed: 21-01-2019

Next review due: 21-01-2022