NEWTOWNABBEY Home Accident Prevention Group has raised the alarm over hair straighteners for children.
The group says that doctors are concerned about an increase in the number of burns injuries as a result of the products being used by youngsters.
It has been reported that some retailers are refusing to sell straighteners specifically aimed at children, which are often brightly coloured and decorated with pictures such as cartoon characters, which members believe are images “more suitable for a toy.”
Tom Durrant, Newtownabbey home safety officer, said: “This information is worrying and follows closely on the back of the “Too Hot to Handle” campaign which RoSPA (The Royal Society of the Prevention of Accidents) has been involved in alongside Home Accident Prevention Northern Ireland and the Belfast Health & Social Care Trust, to raise awareness of hair straightener burns to children.
“The campaign was officially launched at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children earlier this year, following a rise in the number of children attending A&E with hair straightener burns.
“We are asking parents to be vigilant when buying a hair straightening product or using one themselves. As soon as you have finished using straighteners, unplug them, put them in a heatproof bag to cool down and store them out of reach.”
Figures from the Children’s Hospital show that 17 children aged between three months and nine years attended A&E in 2009-10 with hair straightener burns. This represented nine per cent of the 187 children who attended with “thermal injuries” during that year.
The average age of the children admitted with hair straightener burns was 18 months.
Hair straighteners can reach temperatures in excess of 200 degrees – hot enough to fry an egg – and can take as long as 40 minutes to cool down.
The Home Accident Prevention Group says horrific burn injuries can occur very quickly to children because their skin can be 15 times thinner than adults. The most common location for a child to sustain a serious hair straightener burn is on the hand, but injuries have also been sustained to the head, arm and foot.
For further information contact HAP Newtownabbey on 028 9034 0160.