Contemporary hazards in the home: Keeping children safe from thermal injuries

Toity Deave*, Trudy Goodenough, Jane Stewart, Elizabeth Towner, Gosia Majsak-Newman, Adrian Hawkins, Carol Coupland, Denise Kendrick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: To explore the knowledge and reported thermal injury prevention practices among parents of children aged 0-4 years in disadvantaged areas. Methods: Parents of pre-school children in Children's Centres in four study areas in England (Nottingham, Newcastle, Norwich and Bristol) were interviewed using a structured schedule. Interviews covered smoke alarms, bedtime routines, fire escape plans, other thermal prevention practices and parental knowledge of first aid. Results: Of the 200 respondents, most reported ownership of at least one smoke alarm (n=191, 96%), of which 95% were working. Half reported a fire prevention bedtime routine (n=105, 53%) or fire escape plan (n=81, 42%). Most parents had matches or lighters in the home (n=159, 80%), some stored where children under 5 years of age could reach them (n=30, 19%). There was a high prevalence of irons (n=188, 94%) and hair straighteners (n=140, 70%). A third of both devices were used daily. Just 17 (12%) parents reported leaving hair straighteners, when hot but not in use, in a heatproof bag. Knowledge of correct initial first aid for a small burn was good (n=165, 83%), but parents reported other potentially harmful actions, for example, applying ointment (n=44, 22%). Conclusions: Most families report at least one working smoke alarm, but many do not have fire escape plans or fire prevention bedtime routines. A number of reported practices could compromise child safety, such as storage of matches or lighters and leaving hair straighteners to cool unprotected. Reappraisal of health promotion messages, in light of new household consumables, is necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-489
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood
Volume98
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013

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