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National Burns Awareness Day

Every year, thousands of children and adults suffer accidental injuries due to burns and hot water scalds.  In fact, in 2016:

  • 36% of burns were caused by spills from cooking, hot drinks, soups, porridge and stews (especially in children)
  • 21% of contact burns were caused by hot objects like heaters, irons, hobs, oven-doors & hair straighteners
  • 11% of burns were caused by using accelerants in barbecues, garden fires and bonfires
  • 5% of burns were  accounted for by hot water systems scalds such as hot baths, sinks and showers
  • 5% of burns were due to fires from flammable clothing near candles and cigarettes, flash fires from chip/grease pans and flame burns from building fires
  • The remaining 22% of burns included sunburn; chemical burns from fertilisers, bleach, hair dyes, cement, acids and alkalis; and other non-categorised burns.

(Source: the British Burns Association)

Of the 5% caused by hot water scalds, this equated to approximately 2,000 children attending A&E departments of which 500 children, (mainly under fives) required admittance to hospital due to bath water scalds. 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, there is also hope, as it means that numbers can be reduced, especially if we open our eyes to the dangers around us. The home is the most common place of burn injury for both children and the elderly, but if we start thinking differently, we can change this.

The 18th October aims to make people burns aware via the annual National Burns Awareness Day. Now in it’s fourth year, the event organized by the British Burns Association focuses attention onto those avoidable burn incidents that all too often occur in the home.

This year’s taglines of be burns aware and cool, call, cover are being used to highlight everyday dangers and raise awareness of how to deal with a burn injury.  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 which includes a built-in TMV.

5) Consider installing low surface temperature radiators or radiator covers if you have particularly vulnerable people within your home.

Plumbing & heating engineers andinstallers: if you are on social media, you can get involved in this year’s event too. Simply use the hashtags #BeBurnsAware and #CoolCallCover in your posts to help spread the word.

Find out more on Burn Injury Awareness Day via the British Burn Association website 

You can find out more on scalding, Thermostatic Mixing Valves (TMVs) and general water safety at www.ciphe.org.uk/safe-water

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.