Roughly 31,000 hairstyling product-related injuries in children between 2013-22; curling irons and curlers most likely hair styling products to require hospital visit for children
Washington, D.C.— Electronic hair styling products like curling irons are a common cause of burn injuries around the home, particularly among young children, resulting in almost 31,000 burns in children and young people between 2013-22, according to research presented during the 2023 AAP National Conference & Exhibition at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
Researchers who wrote the abstract, “Burn Injuries in Children from Hair Styling Tools Presenting to United States Emergency Departments, 2013-2022: Beauty is More Than Skin Deep,” studied data on emergency department visits involving hair styling equipment for patients ages 24 and younger from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database. Research showed that from 2013 to 2022 there were an estimated 30,839 burn injuries from hair styling tools and 1,050 emergency department visits. Hair curlers and curling irons accounted for 97.4% of the burn injuries reported.
“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,” said CPT Brandon L. Rozanski, MD, lead author and pediatric resident at Tripler Army Medical Center. “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.”
Of those hospital emergency department encounters studied, 68% of the injured subjects were age 10 or younger and 65.1% were female. Almost three quarters of these injuries occurred within the home (72.3%), and 98.6% did not require hospital stays or require any other escalation of care.
“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 said. “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.”
The research authors did not receive financial support for this research.
CPT Rozanski is scheduled to present his research, which is below, from 4:45-5:45 PM Sunday, Oct. 22, in Exhibit Hall A at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. To request an interview with the authors, contact CPT CPT Rozanski, MD, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note: only the abstract is being presented at the meeting. In some cases, the researcher may have more data available to share with media, or may be preparing a longer article for submission to a journal.
# # #
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org. Reporters can access the meeting program and other relevant meeting information through the AAP meeting website at http://www.aapexperience.org/
Program Name: AAP National Conference & Exhibition
Submission Type: Section on Uniformed Services
Abstract Title: Burn Injuries in Children from Hair Styling Tools Presenting to United States Emergency Departments, 2013-2022: Beauty is More Than Skin Deep
Severn, MD, United States
Electric hair styling tools are common household items, often employed for daily use by people of varying ages and gender. With temperatures reaching as high as 450ºF in a matter of minutes, hair styling tools have the potential to result in an unintentional burn injury for both the device user and surrounding bystanders. Prior studies investigating hair styling tool-related injuries have focused primarily on one electronic device – the curling iron – and have limited analyses on the mechanism of injury. The frequency of burn injuries from hair styling tools across the product spectrum is not well-defined. The purpose of our study is to address the literature gap and better characterize the epidemiology of burn injuries from hair styling tools that present to emergency departments (ED) in the United States from 2013-2022.
The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) database was queried using the hair styling tool-related product codes (1682-hair curlers and curling irons, 1602-hair dryers, 1662-hair grooming equipment and accessories, 1651- combs not specified, and 1637- electric combs) for ED visits in the United States. We evaluated the frequency of injuries in subjects ages 0-24 years from 2013-2022 whose injuries involved the aforementioned products, and the subject was diagnosed with a burn (diagnosis codes= 46-49 and 51). All reported values are population national estimates generated from actual hair styling tool-related injury encounters. These were calculated using the NEISS-supplied weights and variance variables. Rao-Scott Chi-square was used for all categorical comparisons.
From 2013 to 2022, there were an estimated 30,839 (95% confidence interval (CI) 24,761 – 36,918) burn injuries from hair styling tools generated from 1,050 actual emergency department encounters captured (Table 1).
Approximately 68% of the injured subjects were younger than 10 years of age (median age 4.3 years, interquartile range (IQR) 2.0-15.2 years). Persons were more likely to be female (65.1%). The majority of these injuries occurred within the home (72.3%). Of the burn injuries from hair styling tools, 98.6% had no escalation of care required. For the hair styling tool consumer products analyzed, the product code 1682—Hair Curlers, Curling Irons—accounted for 97.4% of the burn injuries reported (Table 2).
This study demonstrated that children have the greatest propensity to present to the emergency department with burn injuries sustained from hair styling tools, particularly from hair curlers and curling irons. The characteristics of the injury pattern described provides an opportunity for targeted anticipatory guidance to educate families regarding the hazard of electric hair styling tools. Specifically, parents should be counseled with regards to the appropriate ages for children to be able to use these tools independently and without supervision.
Table 1. National Emergency Department Visits for Burn Injuries from Hair Styling Tools in the United States, 2013-2022
Legend: The table summarizes the characteristics of burn injuries from hair styling tools based on real subjects who presented to the emergency department. “-“ represents actual encounters were < 30 and produced a wide confidence intervals that were not interpretable. NS= P value ≥ 0.05.
Table 2. Frequency of Burn Injuries from Different Hair Styling Tools in the United States, 2013-2022
Legend: The table describes the pattern of burn injuries from different hair styling tools. “-“ represents actual encounters were < 30 and produced a wide confidence intervals that were not interpretable.