Broad­caster backs burns drive

Central Leader - - News - By Scott Mor­gan

Tele­vi­sion per­son­al­ity Carol Hirschfeld is get­ting be­hind a cam­paign to stop chil­dren burn­ing them­selves with some­thing as sim­ple as a hot drink.

The mum of two read a burn preven­tion book to kids at the Auck­land Hospi­tal creche as part of the Safekids New Zealand Hot Drinks Burns cam­paign launch.

Ms Hirschfeld says she didn’t hes­i­tate when Safekids, part of Starship Chil­dren’s Health’s in­jury preven­tion ser­vice, asked her to get in­volved.

“If you are a par­ent, you’re very fa­mil­iar with hav­ing a cup of tea around a small child. It’s very easy for an ac­ci­dent to hap­pen.”

She says an in­ci­dent where a friend’s child pulled a fry­ing pan full of hot fat on to her­self has stuck in her mind.

“Be­fore I had chil­dren, I re­called the scar on the side of her face and thought of it con­stantly when my chil­dren were ba­bies.”

Mid­dle­more Hospi­tal clin­i­cal leader for burns Richard Wong She hopes the cam­paign will help limit the num­ber of burns cases he sees.

“The death rate is very low but the mor­bid­ity rate is very high,” he says.

“There can be scar­ring and psy­cho­log­i­cal trauma and surgery may be needed.”

Chil­dren com­monly spill hot liq­uids on their faces and ch­ests when they reach up for them, he says.

“Every­one thinks with mod­ern tech­nol­ogy we can fix a prob­lem. The scary part is un- for­tu­nately we can’t.”

But surgery is used more of­ten than in the past to limit the dam­age, says Mr Wong She.

He sees a child with burns caused by hot liq­uid nearly ev­ery day, and se­vere cases about ev­ery two weeks.

Safekids NZ di­rec­tor Ann Weaver says a child’s skin is thin­ner than an adult’s so it burns more eas­ily.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion will be pro­mot­ing the cam­paign through kinder­gartens, ko­hunga reo, the Fire Ser­vice and other chan­nels.

See www.safekids.org.nz.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Learn­ing to stay safe: Carol Hirschfeld reads a burn preven­tion book to kids at Auck­land Hospi­tal’s creche as part of the Safekids New Zealand Hot Drinks Burns cam­paign launch.

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