THE DANGERS OF leaving hair straighteners where children can access them are being highlighted in a new campaign.The campaign has been launched today in Northern Ireland to raise awareness of the dangers hair straighteners can pose to children, including causing burns which can require hospital admission and surgical intervention, such as plastic surgery.The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and Home Accident Prevention Northern Ireland (HAPNI) are working in partnership with the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust on the Too Hot to Handle campaign, following a rise in the number of children attending A&E at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children with hair straightener burns.HospitalThe campaign, which is funded with £5,000 from the Electrical Safety Council (ESC), was officially launched by RoSPA’s chief executive Tom Mullarkey.Figures from the Children’s Hospital show that:There were 17 children aged between three months and nine years who attended A&E at the hospital in 2009-10 with hair straightener burns.This represented nine per cent of the 187 children who attended with “thermal injuries” during that year. The average age of the children admitted with hair straightener burns was 18 months.Hair straighteners can reach temperatures in excess of 200 degrees, which is hot enough to fry an egg, and can take as long as 40 minutes to cool down.According to the campaign, horrific burn injuries can occur very quickly to children because their skin can be 15 times thinner than adults.The most common location for a child to sustain a serious hair straightener burn is on their hand, but injuries have also been sustained to the head, arm and foot.SafetyRoSPA, the Trust and the ESC say these burns they can be prevented by following a simple safety code: Switching hair straighteners offUnplugging them straight awayThen sliding them into a heat resistant bagFinally, storing them out of the sight and reach of children.The campaign will run until March 2013. Ita McErlean, RoSPA’s home safety manager in Northern Ireland, said:It doesn’t always take a flame to burn and it is easy to forget that hair straighteners remain hot for a good period of time, even after use. Turning hair straighteners off and storing them in a heat resistant bag out of the sight and reach of inquisitive children, is a simple way to ensure that the risk of receiving a nasty burn is reduced.
STATE PAPERS DATING back to 1983 have revealed that the then Minister for Trade, Commerce and Tourism Frank Cluskey was strongly opposed to a UK military vehicle manufacturer setting up shop in Ireland.Correspondence between the department, the minister’s advisers and the company shows that the the Labour Minister Cluskey said he was not in favour of the “manufacture here, for export, of arms or armaments in the sense of lethal military equipment”.Military vehiclesGomba Stonefield Limited wrote to the Department of Trade, Commerce and Tourism and said they had been in discussions with the Irish Industrial Development Authority (IDA) about establishing a factory in southern Ireland.The vehicles they said they made were four-wheeled trucks, with versions of the vehicle being manufactured for “military use”. Before their discussions went further with the IDA they said they wanted to ensure they would be granted an export licence.They acknowledged Ireland’s reluctance to allow military manufacturers establish in Ireland.In a department briefing, the document states that the firm’s largest order is “a military one”. However, it adds that the vehicles “are more of a supply truck than a front-line vehicle”.ExportsThe brief says they found it difficult to take a “negative” view of the proposal but said that the licence restriction may need to happen depending on where the vehicles were being shipped to in terms of the country’s “regime” and the “tensions” there.State papers show the minister felt the government needed to “adopt an unduly restrictive attitude to proposals involving the manufacture in Ireland for export” of items that were linked to warfare equipment.The document adds that when the minister was briefed on the issue he said that the “political issue” was determining where the equipment might be sent to.One document states that the minister said that the Gomba Stonefield proposal was “premature to look into” and wasn’t sure it would even be economically viable and worthy of IDA support.Read: Extract: ‘Soldiers have an affinity with the detainees in Guantanamo. It would be bad to shoot them – it’ll be lethal injection’>Read: Shatter: No indications Irish troops in Syria are a target>