Children's burns are tragic for many reasons. After a burn, a child may require years of therapy and multiple surgeries to restore full ability to function. What's more, nearly all children's burn injuries are preventable.
Burn Prevention Around the Home
- Never leave a small child alone at home, especially in the kitchen or bathroom.
- Keep matches and lighters away from children.
- Install smoke alarms in bedrooms and near your furnace.
- Keep a fire extinguisher on hand in the area of your home where fire danger is greatest, such as your kitchen.
Burn Prevention in the Kitchen
Emergency Care for Children
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- Keep hot items near table centers, away from counter edges.
- While cooking, keep toddlers in a high chair or playpen.
- Avoid using tablecloths so toddlers don't grab them and pull hot items from the table onto their heads.
- Keep appliance cords away from counter edges.
- Keep pot handles turned away from stove edges.
- Use extreme caution when cooking with a deep fat fryer or cooking with oil.
- Enforce a "No Zone" near the stove where kids are banned.
Prevention Against Scald Burns
A scald burn is a burn caused by hot liquid or steam — particularly hot tap water, hot liquids (tea and coffee), hot foods (soups) and steam. Scalding can occur with temperatures just slightly above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. For children, merely three seconds of exposure to 140-degree water can produce a third-degree burn. Nearly 35,000 children are treated for scald burns each year, reports the National Safe Kids Campaign.
Consider these tips for preventing scald burns:
- Install anti-scald devices on faucets and shower heads. Hot tap water accounts for one out of every four scald burns. When water reaches 120 degrees, a small metal piece expands within the device, shutting off the water supply to a few drops.
- Set your hot water heater no higher than 120 degrees.
- At bath time, test the temperature of bath water using the back of your hand, before placing your child into the tub. The temperature should not exceed 100 degrees. In fact, children benefit from a cooler temperature than what adults typically choose.
- Once in the tub, ensure that your child remains seated with his or her back to the faucet. This way, your child won't be able to grab and turn on your faucet.
- And, of course, never leave your child unattended in the tub.