#Bewareofburns – New safety promotion partnership could significantly reduce burn injuries

Buy Wise Be Safe (BWBS) and University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (UH Bristol) have got together to form a new partnership which is set to address ways in which families can stay safe by making simple changes to their routine and environment, to prevent accidents from happening.

To launch the partnership, BWBS and UH Bristol will be promoting a safety campaign, focused on burns caused by heated beauty products including straighteners and hot brushes. #Bewareofburns will go live on Monday 5 June, which will coincide with Child Safety Week (5 – 11 June). Information and advice will be available online for parents and carers to access, with tips on how to safely use heated beauty products, what safety features to look for when buying these items and what to do in an event when someone gets burnt.

Recent statistics from Bristol Royal Hospital for Children shows a staggering 90 per cent of children admitted with burns from hair straighteners were under the age of five. The data also found there wasn’t a difference in the number of boys and girls burnt.

Mr Jonathon Pleat, burns lead at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, said: “We are delighted to be working alongside Buy Wise Be Safe, to promote safety and to try and prevent accidents from happening.

“Although this campaign is targeted at parents and carers of children under the age of five, we are hopeful this information and guidance is of use to anyone using heated beauty products, to protect themselves from being burnt or injured.

“We see children from across the South West and Wales with burn injuries and treat them with the skilled team in our national burns centre. However, we want to prevent as many of these cases as possible from occurring through simple measures that can reduce the risk dramatically.

“A child’s skin is much more fragile than an adult.  It only takes a second at the temperature which some of these devices reach to cause permanent scarring. In some cases, burns may appear in more than one place as a result of grabbing or stepping on the heated blade surfaces.   The risk is greatly reduced if items such as tongs or hair straighteners are placed out the reach of children or put in the supplied protective covers while the surfaces are hot.  Further, it is vital to purchase devices with safety features that can reduce the risk – for example, some have a timer that automatically turns the power off after a certain amount of time.

“These burns are all the more tragic because typically they affect the very young, the effects can be life-long and they are entirely preventable.”

Stuart Radnedge, spokesman for Buy Wise Be Safe, said: “Over the last year the National Trading Standards Safety at Ports and Borders Teams have detained a number of consignments of electrical beauty products such as hair straighteners and hot brushes. Following testing these products have been found to not comply with standards required by UK and EU law and have therefore been destroyed.

“While National Trading Standards is working hard to prevent unsafe goods reaching consumers we would always recommend that people undertake basic checks when buying online, to ensure they are buying from a reputable seller. Our general rule of thumb is if an online deal looks too good to be true then it probably is.

“It’s not just cheap or knock-off goods that pose a threat to consumers. Any item that heats up has the potential to scald or burn someone. Sadly, with straighteners and tongs reaching temperatures of 230°C, these items can remain hot long after use, which is why it is important to stow them safely and look for safety features that can reduce the likelihood of being burnt.

“Thankfully with our new partnership with UH Bristol, even more parents and carers of under 5s should receive superb safety advice that will help keep youngsters safe from harm around the home.”

Visit www.buywisebesafe.org.uk for the website, www.facebook.com/buywisebesafe for the Facebook page, and www.twitter.com/buywisebesafe for the Twitter page.