Every year, thousands of children and adults suffer accidental injuries due to burns and hot water scalds. The 17th October is National Burn Awareness Day, and to help highlight the dangers of burns and scalds, the Children's Burns Trust, together with the British Burn Association, have released the following shocking statistics from the International Burn Injury Database:
- 7,502 children were seriously burned or scalded
- 625 children a month require admission to an NHS Burns Service following a burn or scald injury
- 4,867 children under 5 were so badly burnt they were admitted to an NHS specialist burns service in 2017, that's 13 toddlers every day
- The most common place of injury is the home for children and the elderly. For adults, it's the workplace
- The NHS burns services treated more than 15,000 patients for burns and scalds in 2017 at a cost of more than £20 million
- A burn injury is for life
- Many of these injuries were preventable.
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.
The most frustrating aspect of these facts is that so many of these burning incidents are avoidable. 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.
The 17th October aims to make people burns aware via the annual National Burns Awareness Day. Now in its fifth year, the event organized by the British Burns Association and the Children’s Burn Trust focuses attention onto those avoidable burn incidents that all too often occur in the home.
And so, when it comes to reducing hot water scald injuries the CIPHE has the following advice:
- When filling up the bath, always run the cold water tap before you turn on the hot tap.
- 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.
- Remember to have your TMVs (and all of your plumbing system) regularly serviced.
- Upgrade your shower to a model which includes a built-in TMV.
- 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 #BeBurnsAwareand #CoolCallCover in your posts to help spread the word.
Find out more on Burn Injury Awareness Day via the Childrens 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.