Using a thermostatic mixer valve to control the maximum temperature of children's bath water can significantly reduce the temperature of hot bath water and should reduce the risk of scalding, according to researchers at The University of Nottingham.
The study, carried out in partnership with Glasgow Housing Association, found that families with a thermostatic mixing valve (TMV) fitted to the hot and cold water pipes in their bathroom had bath water temperatures that were up to 11˚C cooler than those without and their baths were within the recommended temperature of 46˚C.
The researchers are now calling for social and private landlords to commit to providing TMVs as standard in their properties, plumbers to fit them as good practice to all replacement baths and a change in the law to make them a requirement in home refurbishments as well as new builds.
They believe that other vulnerable people such as the elderly or those with disabilities could also benefit from TMVs to reduce their risk of hot water burns.
Professor Denise Kendrick, of The University of Nottingham's Division of Primary Care, led the study.
She said: "Figures show that every year emergency departments in the UK see around 2,000 cases of bath water scalds, most of which occur in children, and these result in about 500 children being admitted to hospital. Admissions mostly occur in children aged under five years old and often involve prolonged inpatient stays, transfer to a specialist hospital or burns unit. In addition, there can be longer-term effects, including disability, disfigurement or psychological damage.
"Scalds also place a significant financial burden on the NHS and society. In 2009, the total cost of scald injuries and deaths from hot tap water was estimated to be 61 million.
"Children from disadvantaged areas and younger children are at greatest risk of scalding. Burns most commonly happen when a child falls or
|Contact: Emma Thorne|
University of Nottingham