As part of this year’s Electrical Fire Safety Fund, the ESC has provided £5,000 in funding to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) in Northern Ireland, to support a campaign that aims to raise awareness of the dangers that hair straighteners can pose to children.
RoSPA and Home Accident Prevention Northern Ireland (HAPNI) are working with the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust on the campaign, following a rise in the number of children attending A&E at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children with hair straightener burns. It was officially launched at the hospital by RoSPA’s Chief Executive, Tom Mullarkey.
Hair straighteners can reach temperatures in excess of 200 degrees - hot enough to fry an egg - and can take as long as 40 minutes to cool down. As children's skin can be 15 times thinner than adults, they can be badly burned very quickly.
The campaign offers a simple safety code: switch hair straighteners off and unplug them straight away, before sliding them into a heat resistant bag, and storing them out of the sight and reach of children.
Too Hot to Handle will run until March 2013, with various activities, including:
targeting health and social care students through workshops and encouraging them to pass on the safety messages to others;
organising local events to reach parents, other practitioners and young people through the Child Safety Check Scheme run by home safety officers; and
lobbying major manufacturers/retailers to supply heat resistant bags with the hair straighteners they sell.
Speaking about the campaign, Phil Buckle, the ESC's Director General said:
“The ESC is delighted to support the Too Hot to Handle campaign. Our grants funding schemes mean that we can work with organizations like RoSPA Northern Ireland to raise awareness of electrical dangers in the home and to change people’s behaviour so that they act more responsibly around electricity.
“Electrical goods are now common items in people’s homes, so it is essential that they understand the risks associated with products like hair straighteners, particularly when they are using them around children. By taking the simple steps suggested in the campaign, people will be able to protect themselves and their families”.
Read the full press release and find out more on RoSPA's website.