Many use hair straighteners on a daily basis to achieve the sleek look which they want to present to the world. However, for the unfortunate or careless few, including adults and children in particular, use of hair straighteners can cause a lifetime of scarring and damage.
A report from the paediatric burns department at Frenchay hospital in Bristol has indicated that 110 children have been treated for serious burns in the last five years caused by hair straighteners. Many others will have been treated for similar injuries across the other regional burn units, and still more minor burns will have been treated at GP’s.
Serious burns caused by these devices are now the third most common cause of burn injury to children after hot drinks and hot food. Treatment for such serious burns often result in lengthy hospital stays and skin grafts.
Hair straighteners get hot – very hot; up to 230 degrees in fact. At temperatures like this it is very easy to see how children and toddlers could get burned just by picking them up by the wrong end or by standing on them accidentally.
Accidents can easily be prevented by ensuring that they are turned off after use, put into heat-resistant pouches and then put away. Do not leave hot straighteners lying around to cool down, particularly if young children are present in the house.
Any area that is burned needs to be cooled down with copious amounts of water to reduce the burning and to help remove the heat from the skin. Depending on the size and depth of the area burned, it may be appropriate to cover with either a proprietary burns dressing or with clingfilm. Seek medical advice if the area damaged is larger than an inch square or the injured person is a child or if you are worried in any way.