Child hair straightener burns claims
Doubling in the past five years, hair straightener burns now account for around one in 10?accidents sustained by children resulting in burns injuries.
Hair straightener burns can be so severe, particularly in children whose skin can be 15 times thinner than that of adults, that they often require urgent hospital treatment and even surgery in some instances. But who is liable when this type of injury occurs? Can manufacturers and retailers be held accountable even if they are not directly responsible?
What is the safety risk?
Designed to flatten and smooth the hair, straighteners can reach temperatures of over 220 degrees Celsius - as hot as an iron. They can stay at this temperature for up to 15 minutes after they have been switched off and take up to 40 minutes to cool down completely. Despite this, they are often overlooked as a serious safety risk.
According to research carried out by the Electrical Safety Council (ESC), over a third of parents admit to leaving their hair straighteners to cool down on the floor or hanging off furniture - within easy reach of children.
In addition, nearly two thirds of parents with young children do not use a heat proof pouch to store their hair straighteners in after use.
Parental versus retail and manufacturer responsibility
Parents have a legal responsibility to protect their children. However, burns by hair straighteners to children tend to occur through unintentional error. Although they may have been left within reach, parents are often unaware of the dangers, or the severity of the burns they can cause.
During the investigations carried out by the ESC, it was found that the majority of retailers and manufacturers were not doing enough to protect children from these types of burns.
Although most manufacturers include basic safety information, only a third included heat proof mats or pouches of varying quality. In addition, at point of sale, most hair straighteners are being sold without additional safety devices or information.
Because of this, the retailers or manufacturers may be liable. A claim for a child with hair straightener burns could be made based on ineffective prevention strategies or lack of adequate health and safety precautions.
Although parents, or the person who left the hair straighteners within reach, may be held partly responsible under contributory negligence'.
How can a claim be made?
If a child has suffered burns as a result of hair straighteners due to negligence, a claim for compensation can be made to cover necessary expenditure such as medical bills and travel. The first step is to contact a solicitor to discuss whether or not you have a case.
How much compensation can be claimed?
The amount of compensation you will receive depends on a number of factors. Our personal injury compensation calculator provides an accurate estimate of your likely compensation.
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About the author
Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.
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