HWFRS bids to reduce incidents of burns and scalds

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service is aiming to drive down the number of burns and scalds.

Most accidents that cause these injuries to babies and children involve hot water which is why the key message for National Burn Awareness Day 2023 – today, Wednesday October 11 – is ‘Hot Water Burns Like Fire’.

HWFRS is joining forces with the Children’s Burns Trust and British Burn Association to support the campaign. There were 7,335 children burned or scalded who required specialist burns unit admittance in 2022 in England and Wales which does not include the thousands seen and discharged in A&E.

Emma Roberts, HWFRS Head of Prevention, said: “A burn injury can be 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.

“We want to make parents and carers more aware of how many ordinary household items can cause burns and scalds and how serious these injuries can be – for example, just from tea and coffee as well as from kettles, candles, matches, lighters and even from hair straighteners.

“It is vital to keep items like these out of children’s reach. So keep a close eye on such hazards today and every day.”

Many burns and scalds to children happen in the kitchen with 531 admitted to an NHS burns service due to injuries related to an electric hob in 2022 and 375 because of accidents involving kettle spills. Emma continued: “It is crucial that children are not left alone around hot cooking surfaces and keep them out of the kitchen when cooking or preparing food and hot drinks.

“Always use the back burners on the hob when you can and turn handles in.”

Thirty babies and toddlers go to hospital every day with a hot drink burn which accounts for 60 per cent of all under threes who attend A&E. Hot water bottles can cause burns if they are not cared for or used safely while hot bath and shower water can leave children needing years of treatment and possibly scarred for life.

Also remember:

  • Ensure children don’t play near fires or heaters and fit childproof guards. If your or your children’s clothes catch fire, remember to ‘Stop, Drop and Roll’.
  • Run cold water first in the bath or sink before adding hot water – test the temperature.
  • Don’t store chemicals, cleaners such as bleach, and acids anywhere they can be reached for.
  • If burnt, cool the burn with cool running tap water for 20 minutes, remove all clothing and jewellery if possible, call for help through 999, 111 or the local GP and cover with cling film or a clean, non-fluffy dressing or cloth.

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