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Open Access Case report

Convective burn from use of hairdryer for heel warming prior to the heel prick test - a case report

Robbie Ray1*, Yvette Godwin2 and Ashley Shepherd3

Author Affiliations

1 Speciality Training Registrar, Trauma and Orthopaedics, Trauma Unit, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, 16 Little France Crescent, EH16 4SA, Scotland, UK

2 Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Department of Plastic Surgery, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Sciennes Road, Edinburgh EH54 6PP, Scotland, UK

3 Lecturer, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA, Scotland, UK

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BMC Pediatrics 2011, 11:30  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-30

Published: 10 May 2011



Blood sampling through heel lancing is the most common invasive painful procedure performed on newborn infants.

Case Presentation

We report the case of a five day old infant who sustained burns to the left foot and leg after the mother's hairdryer was used by the midwife to warm the baby's heel prior to capillary blood sampling (CBS) with an automated device.


Heel warming is not recommended for routine CBS although it is often practiced. If pre-warming is to be practiced, standardised devices should be used rather than improvised techniques. This will reduce the risk of injury to these infants.