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Stay safe around hot drinks! Find out about the SafeTea campaign

SafeTea is a national campaign which aims to reduce hot drink scalds to young children and promote burns first aid. The launch of the intervention will be on 16 October 2019, National Burn Awareness Day. The target audience is parents, grandparents and carers of children under 5 across the UK.


A typical hot drink scald in a toddler, resulting from a ‘pull-down’ of a mug of tea onto the side of the face, the neck and the chest.

Thirty babies and toddlers go to hospital with a hot drink burn every day; only 1 in 4 of these children have received the correct first aid before they arrive at the Emergency Department. These injuries can be devastating for children and their families.

Hot drink burns almost always occur at home, and most involve infants and toddlers as they are starting to become mobile and explore the world for themselves. Pulling a hot cup of tea from a surface within in reach is the commonest way that these children are burned. This can happen in a split second and takes parents completely by surprise. The figure below shows that the peak of paediatric burn emergency department attendances is in the second year of life, when 70 per cent of burns are due to scalds from hot drinks or hot water (blue shading).

SafeTea launches on National Burns Awareness Day 16 October 2019 and run for three months thereafter. We are providing free access to a suite of novel, web-hosted videos and printable materials including posters and activity packs to support nurseries, early years settings and community practitioners in communicating the SafeTea messages. A limited number of printed materials are available to child health professionals to use to promote the messages with families and make sure they are aware of the dangers within their own settings.

The key messages of the campaign are to:

  • Keep hot drinks away from young children
  • Never carry a hot drink whilst carrying a baby
  • Never pass a hot drink over the heads of young children
  • Make a SafeTea zone: a safe place for hot drinks in your home, out of reach of small children
  • First aid for burns is: COOL, CALL, COVER

It is important that we emphasis the likelihood and severity of hot drink burns in pre-school children, give prevention and first aid advice and invite parents and carers of young children to share their stories and take the SafeTea pledge to raise awareness of hot drink safety at home. The SafeTea campaign aims to encourage online debate, discussion and ultimately prevention with our downloadable materials conveying SafeTea messages directly to parents and carers of young children.

You can take part by:

  • Displaying posters, flyers or videos that are freely available on the SafeTea website.
  • Following us on social media: @SafeTeaCampaign on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
  • Encouraging parents to take the SafeTea pledge.

About the author

SafeTea is led by Professor Alan Emond (pictured left) from University of Bristol and Professor Alison Kemp from Cardiff University

SafeTea is funded by the Scar Free Foundation, Health and Care Research Wales, The Worshipful Company of Tinplate Workers, the British Burn Association, the VTCT Foundation, National Centre for Population Health and Wellbeing Research and Cardiff University.

PACEY is supporting the SafeTea campaign.

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