Straight to the emergency department: burns in children caused by hair-straightening devices

Zoe M Poiner, Michael D Kerr, Belinda A Wallis and Roy M Kimble
Med J Aust 2009; 191 (9): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2009.tb02919.x
Published online: 2 November 2009

To the Editor: Contact burns in children caused by hair-straightening devices are increasingly common. Although the dangers of hair dryers and other similar devices are well known,1 there is less awareness of the risks associated with hair straighteners. The relevant Australian Standard does not mention hair straighteners.2 Four recent studies from the United Kingdom have reported on this problem,3-6 but there is no readily identifiable published information from Australia.

  • 1 University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD.
  • 2 Royal Children’s Hospital, Brisbane, QLD.


  • 1. Simons M, Brady D, McGrady M, et al. Hot iron burns in children. Burns 2002; 28: 587-590.
  • 2. Australian/New Zealand Standard. Household and similar electrical appliances — safety. Part 2.23: particular requirements for appliances for skin or hair care (IEC 60335-2-23 Ed 5.1, MOD). Standards Australia, Standards New Zealand, 2004. (AS/NZS 60335.2.23:2004.)
  • 3. Mehta S, Barnes D, Edwin A, Pape S. Burns in children caused by hair straighteners: epidemiology and investigation of heating/cooling curves. J Burn Care Res 2008; 29: 650-654.
  • 4. Wilson Jones N, Wong P, Potokar T. Electric hair straightener burns: an epidemiological and thermodynamic study. Burns 2008; 34: 521-524.
  • 5. Breuning EE, Papini RPG. Hair straighteners: a significant burns risk. Burns 2008; 34: 703-706.
  • 6. Duncan RA, Waterson S, Beattie TF, Stewart K. Contact burns from hair straighteners: a new hazard in the home. Emerg Med J 2006; 23 (3): e21.


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