28 Seconds Cooling Hands

SafeTea Paper Published in the Injury Prevention Journal

Last year, The Scar Free Foundation supported a national campaign that aimed to reduce the number and severity of burn injuries caused to babies and young children by hot drinks. The Scar Free Foundation Centre for Children’s Burns Research at the Universities of Bristol and Cardiff conducted a research project to understand the causes of burns and scalds to children. On the basis of the findings of a high prevalence of hot drink scalds in babies and toddlers together with poor knowledge of the importance of early first aid, the SafeTea campaign was born; sponsored generously by the Worshipful Company of Tin Plate workers alias Wire Workers, and co-funded by Health and Care Research Wales (Welsh Government), The Vocational Training Charitable Trust and the British Burn Association.

Initial findings indicated that around 30 babies and children are seen in A&E every day with burn injuries from hot drinks. The SafeTea campaign aimed to reduce this number, using social media to disseminate information about the risks of hot drinks and advice about burn first aid. The campaign was launched on National Burns Awareness Day in October 2019, and ran for three months. By January 2020, over 400,000 parents and professionals had been reached with the campaign messages.

SafeTea had 5 key campaign messages, including;

  • Keep hot drinks out of reach of young children
  • Do not pass hot drinks over children
  • Never hold a baby and a hot drink at the same time
  • Create a SafeTea area at home where hot drinks are made and drunk away from children
  • Follow the COOL, CALL, COVER principle of First Aid if a burn occurs.

The project is incredibly important in proving the significant role that social media can play in health promotion campaigns, and also indicated key recommendations for future campaigns. These recommendations included:

  • Launching on a public awareness day to generate media interest,
  • Shorter campaigns generate more engagement and interest,
  • Funding is vital to ensure a wide variety of content is available on social media.

Professor Alison Kemp, from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine, who led on the research said ‘There are thousands of incidents of hot drink scalds to infants and toddlers every year, where potentially devastating injuries could be prevented with a few simple steps. We reached a much greater number of people with this campaign than anticipated. I am really hopeful that by repeating these simple messages we can reduce the number of hot drink burns in children and increase the number of children who receive prompt and effective first aid should they have a burn .’

Brendan Eley, Chief Executive of The Scar Free Foundation, said ‘We are so pleased to have supported this vital campaign to reduce hot drink burns to children. The project has been so important in revealing the true cost of hot drink burns in children, and also of the effectiveness of social media in public health campaigns. We are very grateful to the Worshipful Company of Tin Plate Workers, alias Wire Workers, Health and Care Research Wales and the British Burn Association for so generously funding this campaign’.

Read the published paper in the Injury Prevention Journal here: https://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/early/2020/10/22/injuryprev-2020-043909.full