Last year, 6,637 children were seriously burned or scalded in the UK. Analysis of hospital data reveals that the main causes for these injuries were spills from cooking and hot drinks, and contact burns from hot objects like heaters, irons, oven doors and hair straighteners.
Campaigns to raise public awareness about burns prevention take a ‘mixed economy’ approach that originated during the early 20th century, drawing in partners from charities, hospitals, community health, and fire and rescue services. This approach emphasised the importance of education as well as improved design, and produced emotional campaigns, often centred on the image of a young child.
In the past year I have been researching this ‘mixed economy’ approach in the burns related ephemera in the library at Wellcome Collection, for a project called Forged by Fire: Burns Injury and Identity in Britain, c.1800-2000, with Professor Jonathan Reinarz and Dr. Rebecca Wynter.