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Protect your family from heating system burns and scalds

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Protect your family from heating system burns and scalds

Every year, thousands of people – adults and children – suffer injury because of skin contact with part of their heating system, or hot water scalds.

As you probably know from experience, burns and scalds are excruciatingly painful when they happen. But more, the physical scars from a really bad burn injury can persist for life, giving psychological and other challenges throughout someone’s entire lifetime.

Home heating systems sadly contribute to a significant number of avoidable injuries every year, and with the country into a second Covid-19 lockdown just as we head towards winter, the potential for more is greater than ever. According to NHS statistics, admissions to hospital for burn injuries caused by contact with heating appliances, radiators and pipes, rose by 25% over the previous year.

These were not trivial incidents. Nearly 88% of the admissions were counted as emergencies. Children and the elderly are the most vulnerable to burn injuries, and those two groups together made up two thirds of admissions.

Just a little foresight can help you to easily protect your family from something similar. You simply need to look at every part of the system and evaluate where a burn or a scald might happen, and then take steps to prevent it. Very rarely is it difficult or expensive to remove that risk, it’s simply that people don’t think about it until it’s too late.

Check radiators, towel warmers and central heating pipes to evaluate which reach temperatures high enough to cause a burn. If there are children in the house, and a pipe or appliance can be reached by them, assume that they WILL at some point grab them.

Cover any problem pipes, and if you have really hot radiators, get a radiator cover. It’s a one-off job that once it’s done, it’s done.

You should also, of course, be careful of scalding hot water. Many scalds come from hot water from taps, with hot bath water responsible for sometimes fatal or severe scalding injuries with very small children. Simple habits will avoid this, such as always starting to fill a bath with cold water, and then adding hot to it. Thermostatic mixing valves so hot and cold water are mixed before coming out of the tap can also make a big difference.