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Thermostatic mixer valves could significantly reduce the risk of scalding in children, study finds
Date:1/5/2011

climbs into the bath unsupervised or turns on a hot tap or a parent puts a child into water which is too hot.

"Home water heater thermostats are frequently set at 60˚C or above, which can cause a full thickness burn in an adult in 5 seconds and more quickly in children."

Thermostatic mixing valves (TMVs) not to be confused with less precise mixer taps are fitted across bath hot and cold water pipes and set the hot tap at a fixed temperature without affecting the temperature of stored hot water or interfering with heating systems. Building regulations were recently updated to require TMVs be fitted into new build properties, extensions and conversions.

However, the Nottingham study is the first of its kind to test TMVs effectiveness and suitability in the home and on a population at a higher risk of scalding.

The study recruited more than 120 families with children aged under five living in Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) one of the UK's biggest social housing providers. The participants were split into two groups, one of which received an educational leaflet on bath safety, including the true story of a two-year-old who was scalded by hot bath water, and a TMV set at a maximum temperature of 45˚C fitted by a qualified plumber from City Building LLP (Glasgow).

Before the start of the study, both groups had their bath hot tap water temperature measured, and these were measured again three and 12 months after TMVs were fitted. Families were also asked to provide feedback on their satisfaction with their bath water temperature and, in those with a TMV fitted, their views on the valve, fitting process and whether they would recommend it to a friend. The study found that in the homes of families in disadvantaged communities, TMVs and accompanying educational leaflets were effective in reducing bath water temperature to the current recommended 'safe' level for at least 12 months after installation.

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Contact: Emma Thorne
emma.thorne@nottingham.ac.uk
44-115-951-5793
University of Nottingham
Source:Eurekalert

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