The first blog on performing a home safety check focused on poison prevention, scald burns, and trips and falls. This second blog will focus on all forms of burns, as February 4 – 10 was Burn Awareness Week.
According to The American Burn Association, the primary causes of burns are fire-flame, scalds, contact with hot objects, electrical, and chemical. Roughly one quarter (24%) of all burn injuries occur in children under the age of 15. 15,000 of these require hospitalization, and about 1,100 children die from burns each year. Young children and the disabled are at a greater risk for burns because they have thinner skin, which burns at lower temperatures and more deeply. The most common type of burn for children ages 4 years and younger (65%) are scald burns resulting from hot liquids (tap water in tubs, hot drinks, etc.). Contact burns (curling irons, clothing irons, stove-tops, space heater, etc.) represent 20% of the burns, and 15% are from other sources (fire-flames, electrical and chemical).
Scald Burn Prevention
- To avoid scalds, keep the hot water heater set no higher than 120° F and place anti-scald devices on faucets and showers to prevent scald burns during bathing and washing. Also, always test the water first before placing a child in the tub. Water should be less than 100° F.
- Keep hot drinks away from edges of tables and counters, and consider using mugs with tight fitting lids for all hot drinks.
- Handles of pots and pans should be turned away from the edge of the stove and, if possible, on the back burner. This will help to prevent scald burns, as well as contact burns from touching hot pots and pans.
- Keep appliance cords away from edges of counter tops.
- Maintain a kid-free safety zone of at least 3 feet around the stove and other areas where hot foods or liquids are being prepared or carried.
- Never hold a child while cooking, drinking, or carrying hot foods or liquids.
Contact Burn Prevention
- Teach children to never touch stoves and ovens.
- Keep irons, curling irons, and other heating appliance cords up and out of the reach of children.
- Never allow children to handle fireworks.
Other Burn Prevention
- Keep matches and lighters up and out of the reach of children, and locked away.
- Closely supervise children around fire sources (candles, fireplaces, bonfires, etc.).
- If you use candles, place them out of the reach of young children. Consider using non-flame candles.
- Cover unused electrical outlets.
- Make sure ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are installed in all locations where water is present.
- Keep all chemicals, both inside and outside of the home, in locked cabinets and out of the reach of children.
- Never leave children alone if using chemicals (cleaning products, laundry pods, etc.).
By knowing where possible sources of danger are, and taking safety precautions to prevent them, we can keep our families safe from burns, and avoid the pain that comes from them.