Warning issued over burn risk from hair straighteners

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The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has issued a warning to families about the safe use of hair straighteners.

The temperature of hair straighteners can reach up to between 210-230°C – nearly six times the temperature of a household hot water supply, three times the temperature of a freshly-made cup of tea, and hotter than a domestic iron.

The risk of burns from hair straighteners is significant and extremely high temperatures can have devastating effects, including lifelong scars, for anyone who touches a hot one.

RoSPA has warned that young children are particularly vulnerable, as their skin can be thinner and more fragile than that of an adult.

Elizabeth Lumsden, a community safety manager for RoSPA, said: “By being more vigilant parents can drastically reduce the risk of their children being injured in the home.

“Although anyone who uses straighteners may be aware of how hot they are, many do not realise that they stay hot for a long time after being switched off, or may leave them unattended for a few seconds while they go to do something else – which is all the time it takes for an accident to happen.

“So we are reminding people to switch them straight off, and put them straight away.”

RoSPA is teaming up with public health services across the country to spread the message as part of Family Safety Week.

Lesley Nish, a senior health improvement officer for the NHS, said: “While using hair straighteners at home, parents can help to protect children from these horrific burns by using a heat resistant bag if they have one. If they don’t have one, they can purchase a heat resistant bag to use with their straighteners either from shops or online.”

To prevent other common burns to young ones in the home, follow these tips:

Never hold a hot drink and a child at the same time.

Never leave young children alone in the bathroom.

Put hot drinks out of reach and away from the edges of tables and worktops.

Encourage the use of a coiled flex or a cordless kettle.

Keep small children out of the kitchen whenever possible.

Run the domestic hot water system at 46°C or fit a thermostatic mixing valve to taps.

When running a bath, turn the cold water on first and always test the water temperature with your elbow before letting a child get into the bath or shower.

Always use rear hotplates and turn the panhandles away from the front of the cooker.

Keep hot irons, curling tongs and hair straighteners out of reach even when cooling down.

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