More children are being admitted to hospital with burns partly because of the huge popularity of hair straighteners, a charity has said.
The number of accidents involving under-fives is down, but in the past 10 years the number getting burned has risen by 50%, the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) said.
Straighteners can reach temperatures of up to 220C and remain hot for up to eight minutes after they have been switched off.
A child's skin is much thinner than an adult's so the burns can cause permanent scarring, the CAPT said.
Moya Sutton, executive nurse at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool, said: “We are seeing more and more children with burns due to hair straightener injuries, particularly on hands and feet. On average, at least 40 children a year are treated at Alder Hey for these type of burns and several have had to have skin grafts to repair these injuries. This is becoming a major area of concern for us, as parents just aren't as aware of these items as posing a threat.”
According to NHS statistics, in 1997/8 233 children under five needed hospital treatment for burns, and in 2006/7 this increased to 358.
The CAPT is running Child Safety Week which begins today.
Chief executive of the CAPT Katrina Phillips said: “With the rapid pace of modern life and the speed at which children develop, it can be a challenge for parents to stay one step ahead in preventing serious accidents.
“It's often the small changes that make all the difference. The trick is to make them a habit — like putting your straighteners in the same place out of young children's reach — that way you'll feel less like you constantly need eyes in the back of your head. Child Safety Week helps alert parents to these changes and the simple steps they can take to make their homes safer for children.”
More information is available at www.childsafetyweek.org.uk or from Sure Start centres.