24|7 Home Rescue are proud supporters of Family Safety Week 2016 which runs from March 7th to March 11th. In a series of brand new posts, we’ll show you how to prevent some of the most common accidents at home.
Burns and scalds are the fourth leading cause of death to children within the EU and the highest death rates are to children who are under 5 years old.
Young children are particularly susceptible to burns and scalds as their skin is much thinner than that of an adult and they can suffer a serious injury more quickly.
95% of all childhood burns and scalds happen at home, with the most common area being the kitchen. Hot water, saucepans, kettles, ovens, hobs and irons were all the most common items that children had burnt or scalded themselves with and with over 6,500 under-fives visiting A+E departments each year because of kettle and hot drink scalds.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents are running campaigns each day throughout Family Safety Week which is now in its third year and the charity are today launching the RoSPA Scotland and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde hair straighteners campaign aimed at turning off electrical appliances after use.
How to protect your child from burns and scalds
Never leave your child alone in the bath, stay vigilant and keep an eye on them at all times. When running a bath for your little one, put cold water in first and then add hot water but remember to test it yourself before putting your little cherub in! Bath water should never be above 38°C when bathing a baby, so be mindful of this fact.
Where possible, it could be a good idea to install a thermostatic mixing valve to the bath controls to ensure it does not exceed a maximum temperature. If you rent your home, suggest it to your landlord or housing provider to see if they are able to provide one. Some research suggests that legislation which required a safe pre-set temperature of 50°C has proven to be effective in reducing scalds.
Ideally, it’s advisable to keep your child out of the kitchen and away from any possible accidents so if installing a safety gate is an option, do so. When cooking, use the rear positions on the hob and turn all pan handles inwards so that they are not easily reachable by a child. When sitting down to eat, try and avoid tablecloths on dining tables as your child could easily pull it off along with some hot food or drinks.
A hot drink can take 15 minutes to cool down to a temperature that will not scald a youngster so give plenty of time for it to rest. Also, don’t let your child drink a hot drink through a straw and ensure you put hot drinks down before you pick up your child to avoid any nasty spillages… and worse still, a trip to the hospital.
Always remember to test your baby’s milk by placing a few drops on the inside of your wrist before feeding to ensure it’s at an optimum temperature and it isn’t hot enough to scald them. The milk should feel lukewarm but not hot.
Finally, when purchasing a kettle be sure to buy one with a curly cord or short cord as this can avoid it hanging over the edge and being pulled off by your inquisitive toddler. Push it right back so it’s touching the wall too.
Hair straighteners can reach a whopping 250°C and cause nasty burns, even to adults, so make sure they are unplugged when not in use. Some hair straighteners have automatic off switches when not in use for 30 minutes but that’s long enough for your little one to grab hold and cause a nasty burn! Straighteners or curling tongs can actually burn you 8 minutes after being unplugged so, where possible, invest in a heatproof bag for hair appliances and move it out of reach of little hands.
This may sound obvious but, keep cigarette lighters, matches and candles out of the reach of children. Children playing with such objects is major cause of both contact burns and household fires.
Finally, ensure you fit fireguards on all fires and heaters to stop toddlers and young children from falling into them.
If you’d like information on falls, trips and slips please visit this article or for advice on preventing chocking please read our information guide here. To find out how to prevent poisoning at home, please take a look at our guide here.