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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 March 2006, 06:37 GMT 07:37 UK
Bath valve call to stop scalding
Bath taps
Water temperature would not exceed 48C if the valves were installed
A Labour MP is calling for tighter regulation to stop the number of people being scalded by hot bath water.

Mary Creagh tabled a private members' bill in parliament calling for thermostatic valves to be fitted to baths to regulate water temperature.

More than 600 people a year suffer severe bath water scalds - three quarters of whom are children.

The Wakefield MP's bill, unveiled on Wednesday, is being supported by doctors and campaigners.

Hot water burns like fire
Mary Creagh, MP

She said: "We need to change the law to stop these horrific accidents from happening.

"Boiling bath water causes terrible injuries for children and pensioners because their skin is thinner and they are less able to get out of a superheated bath.

"Hot water burns like fire."

'Injuries could be prevented'

The bill demands that the thermostatic valves are fitted in all new and refurbished homes.

The valves set bath tap water temperature to a maximum of 48C - many boilers currently store hot water at 60C to kill bacteria.

A similar law comes into force in Scotland in May and legislation has already been passed in Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

In January 2004 the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister announced a consultation on the issue, but little has happened since then.

Ms Creagh's bill is designed to kick start that process again.

However, Tory Peter Luff (Mid Worcestershire) said people should take responsibility for themselves and there should be an assistance scheme for the vulnerable.

He said: "Baths are not just for cleansing, they're also for therapy and I suspect your measure would get in the way of that particular liberty that I enjoy.

"It's often said that the state should keep out of the bedroom - it's my view the state should keep out of the bathroom as well.

"I think, frankly, this is an idea which deserves a cold bath but a warm welcome for the spirit in which you've moved it."

Dr Alan Phipps, a plastic surgeon at Pinderfields Hospital burns unit, in Wakefield, said: "In the last year we have seen 14 children with severe scalds from bath water.

"The majority need skin grafts and long term scar management for several years and repeated reconstructive surgery over the course of their childhood.

"Most of these injuries would be prevented by the bill."

The Bill gained its formal first reading but stands little chance of becoming law due to lack of parliamentary time.

Safety valves tackle scald risk
05 Sep 05 |  Scotland

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