Hard-hitting campaign on hair straighteners launches

31 Jan 2014

A nationwide campaign to raise awareness among parents and lobby manufacturers and retailers was launched by the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) on Friday 31 January.

CAPT is working with ESC to highlight rising numbers of hair straightener burns and urge parents to store them safely. See our new campaigns page for details

What’s the problem?

An investigation has revealed that:

  • Hair straightener burns among children have doubled in recent years and two thirds of parents don’t store appliances safely while they cool down
  • Retailers and manufacturers are selling hair straighteners without providing any additional safety devices and no information about preventing burns

Hair straighteners can reach temperatures of 235°C and stay hot up to 15 minutes after they have been switched off.

Burns from hair straighteners now account for up to 1 in 10 burns injuries to children. The majority of these accidents happen when crawling babies and toddlers touch, grab or tread on the hot hair straightener plates.

The peak age for these injuries is c 18 months. But babies as young as 6 months have suffered serious burns. And small children have been badly burnt trying to copy their parents.

Safe storage

Nearly two thirds of parents with young children do not use a heat-proof pouch to store hair straighteners after use. And over a third of parents leave them to cool down on the floor or hanging off furniture – places where children could easily touch or grab them whilst they’re still hot.

Katrina Phillips, Chief Executive of the Child Accident Prevention Trust said:

“Parents don’t know that hair straighteners can get as hot as their iron. Toddlers are into everything but don’t know that heat hurts. Add in the chaos of getting everyone ready and out of the house, and it’s no surprise these horrible burns are on the increase.

“We urge parents to keep hair straighteners out of reach of small hands and feet, and store them away safely – in a heat proof pouch if you can” she added.

Retailers and manufacturers

The Electrical Safety Council is calling for retailers and manufacturers to do more to protect children from burns.

Whilst most manufacturers include basic safety information with their products, only a third provide heat-proof mats or pouches, some of which melted when tested.

ESC’s investigation of leading high street and online retailers found that none encouraged customers to buy heat-proof pouches and most didn’t even stock them.

Emma Apter from the Electrical Safety Council said:

“It’s really worrying that retailers and manufacturers are selling products that can reach 235°C without explaining the dangers of not storing them properly. Retailers and manufacturers must do more to protect their customers.”

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