Burns in children caused by hair straighteners: epidemiology and investigation of heating/cooling curves

J Burn Care Res. Jul-Aug 2008;29(4):650-4. doi: 10.1097/BCR.0b013e31817db9a5.


We recently encountered a number of burns in young children caused by hair straighteners and decided to study their epidemiology. We carried out a retrospective audit from 1999 to 2006. We also conducted laboratory testing of the thermal profiles of four brands of hair straighteners. Eighteen children (aged 8 months to 13.5 years, mean 2.1 years) sustained hair straightener burns. Most (13/18) affected the upper limbs and six involved the lower limbs. Three (16.6%) children required surgery. The mean peak temperature of the straighteners was 169.5 degrees C (337.1 degrees F). The straighteners that we tested remained at a temperature above 80 degrees C (176 degrees F) for between 6 and 8 minutes. A third of the hair straightener burns occurred when the appliance was switched "OFF" and cooling down. The children affected are very young. Thus, any prevention campaign should target parents. Children should be well supervised and the straighteners should be placed safely out of their reach while they are cooling. Parents should be warned of the risks to young children, even when straighteners have been switched off. Manufacturers should supply suitable cooling bags.

MeSH terms

  • Arm Injuries / etiology
  • Beauty Culture / instrumentation*
  • Burns / epidemiology
  • Burns / etiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Leg Injuries / etiology
  • Male
  • Medical Audit
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Temperature