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Hot Drinks & Hair Straighteners confirmed as leading cause of burns in children

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A recent study confirms that hot drinks and hair straighteners are leading causes of burns and scalds in young children.

It also revealed that:

  • Babies are 10 times more likely to be burned or scalded than older children.
  • The most common injury is from babies and toddlers reaching up for a hot drink.
  • Parents underestimate their child’s mobility and how far their baby or toddler can reach.

Most burns and scald injuries happen to one-year olds

The study looked at presentations to three leading burns units and five A&E departments across a 2 year period. Of the 1,215 children treated, over half had been scalded, three-quarters were under 5, with most burns and scald injuries happening to one-year-olds.

One of the authors, Professor Alison Kemp from Cardiff University said:

“The peak prevalence started at nine months, when independent mobility begins, infants are exploring their environment without the awareness of dangers. Parents appear to be unready for this developmental stage in terms of preventative strategies. They may underestimate the potential reach height of their toddler.”

Burns and scald injuries are extremely painful, can take years of treatment and scar for life, but they can be prevented if parents are prepared. The study urges “children’s centres, health visitors and family nurse practitioners should address safety education as a matter of routine.”


Our Under 5’s Resource Pack has proved extremely successful and has helped many nurseries, children’s centres and healthcare professionals to highlight the dangers of scalds and burns to parents and carers. You can order a printed copy, including a copy of Lizzie’s Accident and 25 Hot Water Burns Like Fire leaflets for only £4.50 by clicking here.

Also, take a look at this case study of a successful parent-led Hot Drinks Pledge.


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