Before the pandemic, an average of around 100 children presented to Emergency Departments with burn injuries in the UK every day. Lockdown was implemented in the UK and children started to spend an increased amount of time at home. Since the lock down was implemented Clinicians from Birmingham’s Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust have reported a 30-fold increase in the number of burn injuries in The Lancet. This reported rise in burn injuries is as a result of hot water scald injuries, associated with home, steam inhalation treatments. These burns, like hot drink scalds, can cause life changing and permanent scarring in children.
The International Burns Injury Database reports that some 95% of childhood burns and scalds happen at home, and only 1 in 4 children who obtain a burn injury receive the correct first aid immediately after the injury Last year, in response to these stats, Professors Alison Kemp and Alan Emond of the Universities of Cardiff and Bristol ran the SafeTea campaign. The SafeTea campaign was a national public health campaign aimed at reducing both the number and the severity of injuries to babies and young children from hot drinks. Although a small scald from a hot will often not cause significant damage to an adult, a small scald can cause extensive long-term scarring, potentially leading to numerous skin grafts and life-long rehabilitation needs in children. The boiling liquid covers a higher percentage of a child’s body, leading to large, life-long scars. A child’s skin is also thinner and more delicate, meaning hot liquid can cause much deeper burns.
Now, with the rise in burn injuries in young children, the SafeTea campaign is more relevant than ever. There are vital things that parents could do at home, including;
- Keeping hot drinks out of reach of young children
- Following the COOL, CALL, COVER principle if a burn occurs
- Never passing hot drinks over children
- Never holding a baby and a hot drink at the same time
- Creating a SafeTea area at home where hot drinks are made and drunk away from children
The COOL, CALL, COVER principle involves cooling the burnt area under running water for 20 minutes; calling NHS Direct or 999 depending on the severity and covering the area with clingfilm to reduce the chance of infection. Although this principle seems simple, it could save a child’s life.
For more information, please visit the SafeTea website.