|Leahna Haldeman, BSN, MS-2, Abel Gebre-Giorgis, MD, Michael Feldman, MD, Joseph Roderique, MA, MS-3, and Andrea Pozez, MD, Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, Evans-Haynes Burn Center, Richmond, VA|
|“¢ Describe the process of hair braiding and how patients sustain scald injuries
“¢ Advocate for safe hair braiding practices both in the home and at salons
|PURPOSE: In theUnited Statesthe most common scald burn in the pediatric population is from a hot soup. Until now, scald burns from hair braiding have been relatively uncommon and there is scant literature about them. However, with the rising popularity of hair braiding and hair extensions, we are beginning to see more cases of scald injury at our Burn Center. Hair extensions are becoming more mainstream. The extensions used are long strands of hair (natural or synthetic) which are braided into one’s own hair in order to achieve a certain style, look and/or color. Some braiding styles involve dipping the ends of the extensions into boiling water in order to set or curl the ends.
METHODS: We performed a retrospective chart review of scald burn admissions between December 2008 and May 2011. Five patients were identified with a scald injury associated with hair braiding. Demographic data
(age, sex, race), % TBSA, severity of burn, location of burns, length of hospital stay , types of treatment, and use of sedation, were collected and analyzed.
RESULTS: The five patients were all African American females, between the ages of 5 to 21 years of age. Four of the patients were under the age of 9 years. All suffered partial thickness burns requiring hospital admission for wound care and pain management. The Total Body Surface area injured ranged from 1-5% with a mean of 3.5 %. In addition, the youngest patient among the group required procedural sedation for wound debridement in the Emergency department on the day of admission. The mean length of hospital stay was 2 days. The most common injury pattern involved the back, shoulder, and upper arms. The adult patient had a scald burn to her bilateral thighs.
CONCLUSION: The incidence of scald burns associated with hair braiding is likely to increase as this technique becomes more popular. Injury patterns are different in the pediatric versus adult population. Treatment is more likely to require procedural sedation in the pediatric population. The public should be made aware of the dangers of scalding from placing the braided hair in boiling water. The Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation has safety rules and formal training requirements for employees in hair braiding businesses, but many of the scald burns occur at home. Possible prevention methods may include: public campaigns to increase awareness about scald injuries associated with hair braiding, word of mouth education by beauticians to their clients about proper hair braiding technique for scald prevention, and education of pediatric caretakers.