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Is that item a scald or burn risk to your children?

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On National Burn Awareness Day, Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service is aiming to reduce the number of burns and scalds, especially to children.

The day supports the Children’s Burns Trust’s campaign, working alongside the British Burn Association to raise awareness of burns and reduce the number of burns and scalds occurring each year, especially in children and the elderly.

This message is especially important as both Halloween and Bonfire Night draw near.

Station Commander Steve Andrews of HWFRS Community Risk said: “A burn injury is for life. Most injuries occur as a result of an accident that could so easily have been prevented, and children and the elderly are the most vulnerable.

“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 from kettles, candles, matches, and lighters – and even from hair straighteners.

“This is especially important when people are probably spending more time at home than usual due to the pandemic.

“It is vital to keep items like these out of children’s reach.

“A hot drink can still scald a small child up to 15 minutes after being poured and over half of children admitted to hospital have been burnt by hot drinks.

“Even hot water from taps and showers can cause scalding - nearly 300 people a year are admitted to an NHS specialist burns service with severe scalds from tap water in their bath, sink or shower, two thirds of these are children.

“So keep a close eye on such hazards today and every other day”.

Other advice on National Burn Awareness Day includes:

  • remember to keep things that can cause fire – candles, matches and lighters – or are hot – such as kettles, irons and hair straighteners – out of children’s reach
  • never leave children unattended in the kitchen
  • make sure children don’t play near fires or heaters to avoid them getting burnt
  • use the back hobs on the stove and make sure saucepan handles don’t stick out to avoid them being knocked off
  • fit a childproof guard in front of open fires or heaters – the best ones can be fixed to the wall
  • clothing will always burn if in contact with naked flames – but some much faster than others
  • if your or your children’s clothes catch fire, stop, drop and roll
  • don’t run around, you’ll make the flames worse. Lie down and roll around to make it harder for the fire to spread and smother the flames with a heavy material, like a coat or blanket
  • run cold water first in the bath or sink before adding hot water – test the temperature
  • don’t put a baby or child into a bath or sink until the water has been tested
  • install thermostatic mixing valves in all hot water outlets
  • store chemicals, cleaners such as bleach, and acids out of reach

Remember burn first aid: Cool, Call and Cover!

  • Cool the burn with running cold tap water for 20 minutes and remove all clothing and jewellery (unless it is melted or firmly stuck to the wound)
  • Call for help – 999, 111 or local GP for advice
  • Cover with cling film or a sterile, non-fluffy dressing or cloth. Make sure the patient is kept warm

Don’t let burn hazards spoil Halloween this year

Halloween, on Saturday 31 October, also carries burn risks so the Fire Kills campaign is also reminding people to take extra care on Halloween and avoid ruining a fun day. Candles and jack-o-lanterns bring fire hazards, as well as children dressing up in fancy dress costumes, some which can catch fire easily.

Here is some advice for a safe Halloween

  • only buy fancy dress costumes from reputable retailers
  • always check the label – clothing will always burn if in contact with naked flames, but some much faster than others
  • keep other flammable items out children’s reach and make sure they know what to do if something catches alight

For more information visit the HWFRS website and cbtrust.org.uk/national-burn-awareness-day/