Driving home the burns awareness message

The average home holds a host of hidden dangers, especially for the young, the elderly and those who are the most vulnerable.

Home is where the heart is, it’s where you are meant to feel the most safe.

But, according to figures from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), the average home holds a host of hidden dangers, especially for the young, the elderly and those who are the most vulnerable.

It may surprise you to know that hot bath water is responsible for the highest number of fatal and severe scalding injuries among young children.

RoSPA states: ‘Around 500 children, mainly under fives, are admitted to hospital and a further 2000 attend A&E departments every year as a result of bath water scalds.’ The elderly are also five times more at risk of a fatal burn or scald injury than the general population.

And it’s not just hot water causing problems, it’s all too easy for radiators, towel warmers and central heating pipes to reach temperatures high enough to cause a burn if touched.

This year’s annual Burn Awareness Day, this Wednesday, October 18, is aiming to drive home the burns awareness message.

Now in it’s fourth year, the event focuses attention onto the prickly subject of burns, especially those avoidable incidents that all too often occur in the home.

Kevin Wellman, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) said: “The saddest thing about many of these scalding incidents is that they can be avoided.

“We always recommend the installation of Thermostatic Mixing Valves (TMVs) to keep water temperatures within safe levels. TMVs blend hot and cold water to a controlled temperature at the shower, tap or bidet outlet, significantly reducing the risk of a burn.”

There are other tips too. Kevin continued: “I would also always recommend running the cold water first when running a bath. If you have vulnerable people in your home, it’s worth considering installing low-surface temperature radiators or using radiator covers, though this may impact on the overall efficiency of your heating system. You should also cover any low-level hot pipes with insulating material if possible.

“If you have an older home, you should consider having a plumbing health check carried out by a professional plumber to ensure it is working as efficiently and safely as possible. TMVs cost as little as £30 to buy, and while they do need servicing, it is little price to pay when you look at the life long physical, mental and emotional pain scalding can bring. After all Prevention is better than cure.”

Find out more on scalding and general water safety at www.ciphe.org.uk/safe-water

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