End tap scald tragedies with new law, say campaigners

Campaigners say all taps should have a temperature limiter (Picture by Matthew Bowden)

HOUSEHOLD taps should be fitted with compulsory temperature regulators to prevent scalds, say campaigners.

Around 500 toddlers are severely burned by hot tap water every year but there are currently no Europe-wide laws governing the maximum water temperature on domestic taps.

Laws that do exist in Scotland, England and Wales place a limit of water temperature in new homes and those that have been refurbished.

WhereasFranceandSwedendemand that a cap is in place in all households.

The European Child Safety Alliance says it now wants these measures in place in all homes.

Campaigners say limiting water temperature to 50C would protect children, whose skin is thinner than that of an adult, against serious scalds.

The organisation’s director Joanne Vincenten (corr) said: “A combined approach of legislation, good engineering and solid education to the public would greatly reduce the number of tap water scalds to children inEurope.”

One mother whose child was badly injured by  hot water agrees that measures need to be put in place.

Luisa Fletcher’s one-year-old son Lewis had to undergo 15 gruelling operations and had a finger amputated after he climbed onto a toilet and turned in the hot tap in August last year.

The water was later tested at 74c – hotter than a cup of tea.

The 31-year-old said: “In my opinion it is ludicrous, there’s legislation regarding water temperatures in residential units and guidance about schools and hospital – children should have the same protection in their own home.

“If there is no temperature control, water could come out boiling, and that’s not right.”

Every year around 20 babies and toddlers die after being scalded and around 2000 are treated in A&E.

Older people can also suffer, with around 15 dying annually because of hot water.

Blood vessels in the skin can be destroyed by scalds, forcing doctors to amputate before gangrene sets in.

Scotlandpassed laws on limiting temperature in new and refurbished homes in 2006.

The laws had been championed by Mark Stevenson of the Scottish Burned Children’s Club and by teenager Darren Fergusin, who suffered severe burns to his face while just a baby.

EnglandandWalespassed similar laws last August but many are calling for a limit in all homes.

Opponents say lowering the temperature could lead to an increased risk of the bugs behind Legionnaire’s Disease, the legionella bacteria.

But the European Child Safety Alliance, which counts the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and the Child Accident Prevention Trust amongst its members, say there is insufficient evidence to support that claim.

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  1. Typical over reaction, teach the children, or prosecute the burns victims parents with willful neglect

    Lowering water temperature DOES increase the risk of legionella significantly as the L8 regulation states

    Note, you are far more likly to die from legionella than scalding, so don’t be fooled by the manufacturers of temperature control valves as they push to sell their product

  2. @vic you obviously have no sense! My 3year old should be able to use his initiative, with all I’ve Tought him, guiding him in gaining his independence, to step on his stool, turn on the tap, take the soap and wash his hands after going to the toilet. I should not have to be with him every time he does this, checking the water. This is not willful neglect! It’s giving your child their earned independence!. If bugs were an issue to the extend expressed then no home would have a cold water supply, all water would have to be at a set temperature to kill the bugs, that’s not the case though is it. Will you complain about the bugs in your cold water supply? Or are you happy with the toxins put in the water? You know, the water you DRINK. speaking of which, I can’t say I know many people who drink hot tap water, do you? Because I’m certain almost all use of hot domestic water is used for washing things with the aid of chemicals that assure 99%, sometimes more, of germs will die with its use. So with that in mind, it makes more sense to the majority to decrease scolding water temperatures to a safe temperature for anyone.

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