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Thermostatic Mixing Valve Campaign Success

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A boy washing his hands under the bathroom tap.

Each year six hundred people suffer severe bath water scalds, three quarters of whom are children. This means that every day a child under five is admitted to hospital with serious injuries resulting from scalding hot bath water.

We have welcomed the Government’s announcement to change building regulations to ensure all baths in new bathrooms are equipped with a Thermostatic Mixing Valve (TMV). Mary Creagh MP has led a 3 year long ‘Hot Water Burns Like Fire’ campaign to reduce scalding injuries in the home. Plastic surgeons and accident prevention charities have all welcomed the change in the law as a significant step forward for home safety.

Thermostatic mixing valves (TMVs) will now be fitted in all new build houses and refurbished bathrooms from April 2010. The valves set bath tap water temperature to a maximum of 48°C. This will allow a hot bath whilst minimising the risk of scalding. Such legislation came into force in Scotland in May 2006. Similar legislation has been passed in Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

The campaign was launched in the House of Commons in March 2006 where Mary was joined by our Patron Amanda Redman, who suffered a scalding accident as a child, 10 year old scald victim Holly Devonport from Wakefield, West Yorkshire and leading UK hospital consultants who treat scalding injuries.

“As a scald victim myself, I am delighted that the government has agreed to change the regulations so that all new bathrooms are fitted with thermostatic mixing valves. This should stop the horrific burns due to bath water related accidents. Well done to brave Holly Devonport and her mum Julie, for raising awareness by speaking out on this subject.” Amanda Redman, Actress and Patron of CBT

Brian Robinson, ex Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade and CBT Trustee said: “We are delighted and relieved. This change in the law WILL reduce the number of children and adults severely scalded each year by tap water. Our sincere thanks and congratulations to all who have worked so tirelessly to achieve this.”

Mary Creagh, MP for Wakefield, said: “I am completely thrilled that after 3 long years the government has finally changed its mind on this issue. The case for change was overwhelming. Boiling bath water causes terrible injuries for children and pensioners because their skin is thinner. I want to thank all the fantastic people who have worked together to make this change happen, especially brave Holly Devonport. Politics can really change things for the better. Hot water burns like fire but now fewer people will suffer what Holly endured because of her courage at speaking out.”

“I pay tribute to my colleague, Communities Minister Iain Wright, who has steered these changes through the Department for Communities and Local Government. I am grateful to him for his unwavering commitment in ensuring that our homes are made safer for children.”

Julie Dunphy, mother of scald survivor Holly said:  “This is fantastic news – we’re just over the moon. Holly did a lot of suffering, but if this can stop it happening to another child, then it hasn’t been for nothing. Holly still has scars, but every year she gets a little bit better, and this is great news.”

Dr Keith Judkins – Chairman of Prevention Committee, leads on burn prevention for the British Burns Association (BBA), Consultant Anaesthetists at Pinderfields Hospital Burns Unit, said: “I am delighted by the news, and have wasted no time in passing it on to the whole burn care community. When this measure is implemented, fewer children will be disfigured for life and fewer elderly folk will die before their time in pain and distress – and that’s got to be good! Mary Creagh deserves great credit for her drive and tenacity in getting this done, and thanks also to the many people who supported her, campaigners and MPs alike!”

Katrina Philips, Chief Executive, Child Accident Prevention Trust said: “This is fantastic news. Bath water can cause horrific, life-changing injuries and young children are the most frequent victims. Thermostatic mixing valves protect children’s delicate skin but still allow adults to enjoy a hot bath. It’s a great win-win for children and for families”.

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