Did you know:
- 590 children a month require admission to an NHS Burns Service following a severe burn or scald injury?
- 4,609 children under 5 were so badly burnt they were admitted to an NHS specialist burns service in 2018 – that’s over 12 toddlers every day?
- The most common place of injury is the home for children and the elderly. For other adults, it’s the workplace?
- Many of these injuries were preventable?
Every year, thousands of children and adults suffer accidental injuries due to burns and hot water scalds. The 16th October is National Burn Awareness Day, an annual event aimed at reducing the number of burns and scalds occurring in the UK every single day.
A burn injury is for life. The scars are physical as well as psychological, and can present life-long challenges for the individual and their families. What many people don’t know is that children and the elderly are the most vulnerable, and the majority of injuries occur as a result of an accident that could so easily have been prevented.
This year’s National Burn Awareness Day is supporting the SafeTea Campaign which aims to prevent serious burns (scalds) from mugs of hot tea or coffee, and to ensure that parents/carers know how to give burns first aid.
While scalds from hot drinks are a widespread cause of injury, the truth is that scalds and burns can come from a number of sources. Those who work in the plumbing and heating industry will be no stranger to the devastation burns can bring, but many homeowners are still unaware. According to figures from Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) hot bath water is responsible for the highest number of fatal and severe scalding injuries among young children. But it doesn't stop there. Radiators, towel warmers and central heating pipes can easily reach temperatures high enough to cause a contact burn if touched.
However, the good news is that if we open our eyes to the dangers around us, the number of those receiving accidental burns and scalds should fall. And so, when it comes to reducing hot water scald injuries, the CIPHE has the following advice:
1) When filling up the bath, always run the cold water tap before you turn on the hot tap.
2) If your home does not have them already, installing Thermostatic Mixing Valves (TMVs) will greatly reduce the risk of scalds, as the devices mix water to a safe controlled temperature at the outlet.
3) Remember to have your TMVs (and all of your plumbing system) regularly serviced.
4) Upgrade your shower to a model that includes a built-in TMV.
5) Consider installing low surface temperature radiators or radiator covers if you have particularly vulnerable people within your home.
If you are on social media, you can get involved in this year's event too. Simply use the hashtags #BeBurnsAware and #SafeTea in your posts to help spread the word.
Find out more on Burn Injury Awareness Day via the Children's Burn Trust website.
You can find out more on scalding, Thermostatic Mixing Valves (TMVs) and general water safety on the CIPHE website.
If you want professional advice on installing TMVs and how you can make your home safer from hot water scalds, call in your CIPHE registered plumber. Find one online via CIPHE's find-a-plumber directory.