Potential scalding hazards in millions of UK homes

Published:  24 April, 2013

Specialist bathroom supplier NotJustTaps is highlighting the need for wider legislation to prevent the risk of scalding in millions of UK homes.

The Hertfordshire-based online supplier is launching its own anti-scald campaign by raising awareness of scalding risks and giving advice on how vulnerable households can be protected.

Every year, more than 2,000 children are treated in hospitals and A&E departments as a result of bathwater scalds that can lead to life-changing injuries. According to the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT), a scald over more than 20% of the body – not uncommon if a small child falls into a bath of hot water – has the same impact as being hit by a bus.

Current building regulations require all newbuild homes across England and Wales to have devices fitted to baths to limit the temperature of the water to 48°C. That temperature is still more than hot enough for domestic use, whilst removing the potential for the most serious scald injuries.

However, millions of UK homes are still at risk, company director Derek Aaronson has warned. He argued that the cost of fitting a thermostatic mixing valve (TMV) in a household far outweighs the potential cost of losing a life. A TMV can easily be fitted to an existing system to control water temperature and help prevent the risk of scalding.

“Currently there is no requirement for homeowners or landlords in the UK to retrofit a TMV,” Aaronson explained.

NotJustTaps has also introduced a device to protect people from burns whilst showering. The ShowerSafe anti-scald shower fitting is a universal safety piece that can be fitted to any shower hose to prevent burns, scalding and other related injuries.

Aaronson continued: “ShowerSafe is an essential aid for domestic homes, care homes and nursing homes, for elderly users and for use in children’s bathrooms.

“Clearly the government has recognised the risk of scalding in the home but there needs to be changes to the law. Legislation changed in 2010 to require all newbuilds to be fitted with TMVs but this leaves millions of outdated and refurbished bathrooms exempt from the building regulations. The risk of scalding in the UK, especially to the young and vulnerable, still remains enormous.

“Accident prevention is something as a company we feel very strongly about. Whilst TMVs limit the temperature of the water and prevent the risk of serious scalding, it’s always essential to check the temperature of the water before placing a child into the bath. It’s recommended that between 37 and 37.5°C is a comfortable bathing temperature for children.”

In addition, Aaronson advised homeowners and landlords to ensure they buy a TMV or shower fitting that conforms to British Standards, and to have it fitted by a qualified plumber.

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