Kent Parents Warned About Preventable Burns

17 October 2018, 06:00 | Updated: 17 October 2018, 13:58

Hospital Burns Unit

Burns specialists from Queen Victoria Hospital are warning parents of the dangers of preventable injuries at home following a year-on-year increase in referrals to its paediatric burns unit.

Almost half of the 465 children admitted to the hospital with burns in 2017/18 from across Sussex, Surrey and Kent were treated for scalds.

The majority of these injuries happened in the child's own home.

Tea and coffee scalds were the main cause.

The hospital's team also see more than 50 children each year who have a burn caused by hair straighteners.

More than 40 children with injuries caused by hot radiators or radiator pipes, often toddlers pulling themselves up as they learn to walk.

Perhaps more worrying is the number of very young children who are sustaining injuries.

In the last year 46 per cent of the children seen by the Queen Victoria Hospital's burns team were aged two and under.

For this year's national burn awareness day which is 17 October, the hospital's experts want to remind people of the importance of prevention and also effective first aid at the scene.

Nora Nugent, consultant plastic surgeon and burns lead at Queen Victoria Hospital, said:

"Each year we treat hundreds of children with burns injuries which are avoidable, many of which will leave life-changing scarring.

It's often easy to forget how hot the contents of a cup can be or that hair straighteners can reach 220 degrees, but they can cause permanent injuries.

"Prevention and good first aid are key in reducing the number of burns and scalds that occur each year.

“Acting quickly, whether it's a child or adult who has been burnt, can reduce immediate pain and long-term scarring.

“If the unthinkable does happen, remember the mantra 'cool, call and cover'.

“This immediate first aid can help make all the difference."


The hospital is supporting the British Burns Association's 'cool, call and cover' first aid guidance:

                Cool the burn with running cool tap water for 20 minutes and remove all clothing and any jewellery

                Call for help - 999, 111 or your local GP for advice

                Cover with cling film while transferring to a hospital/GP surgery. The hospital/GP should apply a sterile dressing. Cling film should not be left on a burn for more than a few hours and only while wounds are being assessed by health professionals.