When childproofing a home, this is one potentially dangerous hazard that's often overlooked...
So you’ve fully prepared for the arrival of your little one and you’re confident that you didn’t miss anything. But have you really baby-proofed every corner of your home? This latest warning for new mums thinks the answer is no. It turns out, even the most thorough parents often miss this one thing.
The often-overlooked hazard is posed by electric hair straighteners, which are usually kept in bathrooms.
99% of burns and scalds happen to kids at home, according to the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT).
Burns due to hair straighteners account for hundreds of child injuries each year
In the UK alone, nine children are rushed to hospitals because of burns each day. Burns due to hair straighteners account for hundreds of child injuries each year.
A UK mum had to learn this the hard way when her then 10-month old baby Joshua was burned by a hair straightener that fell on his arm. Though it had just been switched off, it was still extremely hot.
“It happened in a split second. I was getting ready for work and had turned the straighteners off and put them on a table he couldn’t reach,” his mum told the BBC, adding how her son had just started to crawl.
“I underestimated how quickly he could get across the room to the table,” she recalled. “He pulled at the cord and they fell.”
She confessed that she wasn’t aware that hair straighteners “could stay so hot when they were switched off.” She hopes this serves as a warning for new mums.
“Parents don’t know that hair straighteners can get as hot as their iron. Toddlers are into everything but don’t know that heat hurts…”
Hair straighteners take quite a while to cool off, especially after prolonged use. An average straightener can reach up to 250°C and can take 15 to 40 minutes to cool off.
“Parents don’t know that hair straighteners can get as hot as their iron. Toddlers are into everything but don’t know that heat hurts. Add in the chaos of getting everyone ready and out of the house, and it’s no surprise these horrible burns are on the increase. We urge parents to keep hair straighteners out of reach of small hands and feet,” warns Katrina Phillips of the CAPT in a statement to the Electrical Safety Council.
This warning for new mums can’t be ignored, but if you really can’t part with your hair straightener, make sure to store it in a heat-proof pouch. Stow it away in a high area after use. Make sure it has completely cooled before putting it away.
Warning for new mums: 5 objects to keep out of reach
Babies and toddlers are excellent copycats, and they need their props! You might not think they notice your daily habits, but they’re keenly observant. And they tend to reach for the things mummy and daddy use each day. Unfortunately, they don’t know the dangers these things pose.
Whether it’s a run-of-the mill razor or an electric one, it’s still a safety hazard. Regular razors often come with detachable blades. Electric razors pose the risk of electrocution or strangulation with the cord.
They’re soft and colourful, but they often come with strings or ornaments that could become choking and strangulation hazards for your oh-so-curious tot.
Just like hair straighteners, hair dryers can reach extreme temperatures. Plus, their long, thick cords are also obvious safety hazards.
The next time you trim your brows, make sure to stow your tweezers in a safe place, unreachable by your little one.
They might not seem like tools of destruction, but trust us, they can be as good as a sharp knife when they come into contact with a baby’s thin skin layer.
It’s a good thing we have Bluetooth speakers now, but if you’re one of those “old school” parents, try to reserve your music listening habit for areas outside the bathroom.
Why? Electric radios are both electrocution and strangulation hazards.
Warning for new mums: Childproof your bathroom completely
Aside from keeping certain objects out of reach, there are other measures to ensure your baby and toddler doesn’t crawl or wobble into a room full of dangers.
Here’s how to make your bathroom safer:
- Make sure bathtubs have a safety cover over the faucet to prevent head injuries.
- Keep bathroom doors closed or latched. Make sure the lock is out of your kids’ reach.
- Lock or latch all your medicine cabinets and avoid reusing bottles with different labels.
- Use a sturdy step stool, so kids can reach the sink without having to climb the tiles.
- Even toilets are drowning hazards, mums! So make sure to keep them latched when not in use.
- Make sure all electrical outlets and sharp corners are covered, even if they seem out of reach for kids.
- Don’t forget that even your trash can needs childproofing. Make sure not to dispose of any sharp or hazardous objects. Or stow the bin away in a latched cabinet.
What should parents do in case of burn accidents?
In the event of a burn accident, don’t panic! Here’s what you should do:
- Use cold running water to cool the burn for 20 minutes.
- Make sure to remove all clothing and jewellery only if it’s not adhered to the wound.
- Call an emergency hotline or your local pedia for help.
- Wrap the wound with Cling film or any sterile dressing or cloth.
- Make sure the child is kept as warm and comfortable as possible until help arrives.