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Mom's Curling Iron Can Be Big Burn Hazard for Kids

FRIDAY, Oct. 20, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Tens of thousands of U.S. children received burns over a decade from beauty devices found in many homes: curling irons.

“Hair styling tools are a timeless piece of our everyday routine, helping to create the picture-perfect look. Yet they have the greatest propensity to create a not so picture-perfect accident when not handled with care,” said Dr. Brandon Rozanski, lead author of a new study and a pediatric resident at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu.

“Electric hair styling tools can reach temperatures as high as 450 degrees F in a matter of minutes, creating potential situations of unintentional burn injury for both the device user and surrounding bystanders,” Rozanski said in a news release from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

His study found nearly 31,000 burns in children and young people between 2013 and 2022. Researchers used data from emergency department visits for patients 24 and younger from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database. There were more than 1,050 emergency department visits.

Hair curlers and curling irons were responsible for 97% of the burn injuries.

About two-thirds of those who went to hospital emergency departments for burns were age 10 or younger. About 65% were girls. Roughly 72% of the injuries happened at home, and less than 2% required a hospital stay.

“This study demonstrated that children have the greatest propensity to present to the emergency department with burn injuries sustained from hair styling tools,” Rozanski said.

Physicians should educate families on the hazard surrounding everyday use of electric hair styling tools, he said, and stress "age-appropriate use with and without parental supervision.”

Rozanski is scheduled to present his research Sunday at an AAP conference in Washington, D.C. Findings presented at medical meetings are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The American Burn Association has more on burn injuries in the United States.

SOURCE: American Academy of Pediatrics, news release, Oct. 20, 2023

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