Yvonne Orgill, CEO at the Bathroom Manufacturers Associations, explains how thermostatic valves could prevent devastating scalding accidents.National Burns Awareness Day (17 October) acts as a stark reminder that there are still too many injuries in the UK from burns and scalding every year.
Scalding accidents change lives forever. The scars that result are physical as well as psychological and can present lifelong challenges.
With many scalding accidents happening in the home, there is a huge job to be done in raising awareness of the dangers and helping to educate the public on how they can make changes in order to the reduce the risk.
Our campaign, Hot Water Burns Like Fire, has been set up with the support of the Children’s Burns Trust (CBT) and aims to enlighten parents on the risks not just from boiling kettles or saucepans but ordinary tap water in baths, sinks and showers.
Scalding from hot water still occurs because although it is a legal requirement that the temperature of water from all showers and taps in new homes is limited to a maximum 48C, there is no similar legal requirement for existing homes.
Domestic hot water systems can reach 70C, and at this temperature the skin starts to burn after just one second. Children and the elderly are particularly at risk because their skin is thinner and more prone to heat damage. At 60C it takes six seconds to burn and at 50C it takes at least a minute. It’s advisable to turn the temperature of heating systems down to the maximum of 48C.
We hope that our campaign will encourage homeowners to do one of two things, either replace taps or showers with new ones that include thermostatic valves or install a thermostatic mixing valve in the hot and cold pipework near the washbasin or bath.
A qualified plumber can fit an effective thermostatic mixing valve, although it is important to check that the product meets current water regulations, if in doubt seek an alternative. These valves also need to be maintained regularly.
This is such a simple solution, there really is no reason for these accidents to continue to happen so we would urge others to support our campaign.
Find out more about the Hot Water Burns Like Fire campaign here.
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