Hair straighteners: what to do if your child gets burned

How to treat your child's hair straightener burn and how to prevent them

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Hotter than an iron and tempting for toddlers to grab – hair straighteners are one of the most dangerous things in your bedroom for a child. The average set can reach more than 200°C – hot enough to fry an egg!

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Children’s skin can be 15 times thinner than adults, so when your child reaches for those hot plates, they can get horrific burn injuries very quickly. And the danger isn’t over as soon as you’ve turned them off; they can take as long as 40 minutes to cool down.

Burns from hair straighteners can be serious enough to require admission to hospital and even referral to plastic surgery and surgical intervention. The most common places for a child to get a serious hair straightener burn is on their hand, but head, arm and foot burns are also common, according to The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

“RoSPA is aware of children in particular suffering terrible burns as their skin can be 15 times thinner than adults, and they are inquisitive about the items around them,” Alison Brinkworth, RoSPA’s public health support officer, said. “Our advice is to turn hair straighteners off and store them in a heat resistant bag immediately after using them, to prevent nasty injuries occurring to yourself or your young ones. Remember, it doesn’t always take a flame to burn.” 

What can you do to prevent your child from getting burned?

  1. Switch hair straighteners off and unplug them straight away
  2. Slide them into a heat resistant bag
  3. Store them out of the sight and reach of children

How do you treat a hair straightener burn?

  1. Submerge the burn in cool or lukewarm water for 10 to 30 minutes, ideally within 20 minutes of the injury occurring
  2. Cover the burn with a layer of cling film
  3. Seek medical attention 

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