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Hot drinks 'behind many scalds' in young children at A&E

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Many infants are scalding themselves with hot drinks after careless parents leave mugs of tea and coffee in reach of inquisitive children, research suggests.

A study, published in the Archives of Diseases in Childhood, examined the burns and scalds of children admitted to five emergency departments, a burns assessment unit and three burns units across the UK.

Researchers found that of 1,215 children almost three in five suffered from scalds, 32% had contact burns and the rest were burns from other causes, including sunburns.

Children under the age of one sustain 10 times as many burns and scalds as older children, they said.

In children under five, 55% of scalds were caused by a hot drink in a mug or cup. Almost half of these (48%) were caused when youngsters pulled the drink on to themselves, causing burns to their faces, arms and upper torsos.

Prevention of such accidents is “likely to rely upon heightened awareness and behaviour change by carers”, the authors from Cardiff University said.

“Public information messages, children centres, health visitor or family nurse practitioners should address safety education as a matter of routine,” they added.

For those over the age of five, hot water was responsible for half of scalds, mostly from spills. Nearly all scalds affected the front of the body, predominantly the face, arms and upper trunk in young children, and the lower trunk, legs, and hands in older children.

In under fives the majority of contact burns were caused by youngsters touching hot items in the home.

Two in five of these cases were caused by youngsters touching irons or hair straighteners and almost one in three were caused by touching oven hobs.

Read the full story in Archives of Diseases in Childhood


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