Hair curler danger: Thousands of kids burned every year by electric hair styling devices

WASHINGTON — A common hair styling appliance is causing more harm than many parents may be aware of. A new study reveals that thousands of children are burned by hair curlers every year in their own homes.

More than 30,000 American children and young people sustained burns while using hair styling products between 2013 and 2022, with 1,050 incident leading to emergency room visits. Kids under 10 years-old suffered most of the severe burns.

The annual AAP National Conference & Exhibition in Washington, D.C. heard how hair curlers and curling irons made up 97.4 percent of the burn injuries. The team studied emergency department visits involving hair styling equipment for patients age 24 and under. Of those who visited the emergency department, 68 percent were 10 or younger, and 65.1 percent were women or young girls.

Almost three-quarters of the injuries happened at home. Despite the high number of emergency room visits, just 1.4 percent needed extra medical attention.

Woman having wound or injury bandaged up
Image by aebopleidingen from Pixabay

“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,” says CPT Brandon L. Rozanski, MD, lead author and pediatric resident at Tripler Army Medical Center, in a media release.

Electric hair styling tools can reach temperatures as high as 450ºF in a matter of minutes, creating potential situations of unintentional burn injury for both the device user and surrounding bystanders.”

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

“Using this information, clinicians have a unique opportunity to provide targeted anticipatory guidance to educate families on the hazard surrounding everyday use of electric hair styling tools in addition to stressing age-appropriate use with and without parental supervision.”

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South West News Service writer Pol Allingham contributed to this report.

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