Safety conscious parents have long been aware of the danger that home gadgets such as irons and electric sockets could pose for young children, but it’s modern gadgets such as hair straighteners that need to be taken note of. They may serve a great purpose for helping mum straighten her hair, but they can pose a major risk of burning to young children – mainly due to the hot temperatures they reach. We explore how you can use hair straighteners at home, but still keep your children safe from harm.
How Big a Risk Are Hair Straighteners?
There are many Accident Hot Spots In The Home for inquisitive toddlers, and The Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) recently released figures relating to the number of accidents that caused under five year olds to be admitted to hospital in the UK. Worryingly they found a high rise in the number of burning accidents in this age group – in fact, the numbers had risen by 50% in the last 10 years.
The rise in accidents correlated with the rise in the use of hair straighteners, and a large proportion of burning accidents were found to be due to children coming into contact with the hair straighteners. The temperatures reached by hair straighteners are typically very high, in the region of 220°C, and they take a long time to cool down. Even if you’ve put down your straighteners and unplugged them, they can still burn a child up to 8 minutes after they’ve been switched off and unplugged, and the burn can be as bad as that produced by an iron.
Accidental burns from hair straighteners are bad enough for adults, but children’s skin is 15 times thinner, so the burns are more severe. In fact, burns caused by skin straighteners may well result in permanent scarring.
Protection From Hair Straightener Burns
Although hair straighteners can be dangerous for children, this doesn’t mean you have to stop using them completely. But is wise to think carefully about how and when you use them, and where you leave them to cool down.
For example, as children often want to copy what you’re doing or investigate an item for themselves, it would be wise to use your hair straighteners in a room on your own, without your children around to see you using them. If this isn’t feasible, then always ensure your children are well away from the straighteners as you use them, and that you put them down on a safe surface out of their reach.
When you’ve finished using your straighteners, always turn them off and put them somewhere high up to cool down. The cables are often long, so be careful not to let them dangle down where they could be pulled.
In the same way that you’d tell your children about the dangers in the kitchen, or with an iron, be careful to warn them about the dangers of your hair straighteners. Don’t let young children try them out, however much they may yearn too, and always store your straighteners safely away from eager young eyes.
By being aware of the potential dangers of hair straighteners, you can hopefully help protect your family from their dangerous burning potential and keep your children safe. As an extra precaution, read our article about First Aid For Burns.