|Burns are a common cause of preventable injury, affecting over 1 million people in the United States, leading to the hospitalization of almost 40,000 children each year and over 1000 deaths. And half of these injuries are in children under that age of 4 years.
Although children can be burned by hot liquids, household appliances, sun exposure, etc, scalding burns are the most common burn injury in younger children. These burns can occur as a toddler knocks over a coffee cup or grabs the handle and spills a pot of boiling water on the stove. Toddlers and preschool age children are also commonly burned by curling irons and other household appliances.
Most burns can be prevented. Some steps you can take to keep your children safe from burns include:
Set the temperature of your hot water heater to 120 degrees F to prevent scalding burns. It is important to keep in mind that a full thickeness burn can occur after just 1 second of contact with water that is at 158 degrees F. Even at 130 degrees F, a full thickness burn can occur after 30 seconds of contact, but it takes 10 minutes of contact to get a full thickness burn if the water temperature is lowered to 120 degrees F.
- Do not leave your child alone in the bathroom or kitchen.
- Do not carry hot liquids or food near your child and do not allow your child near stoves, hot oven doors, hot barbecue grills, heaters or other hot appliances (especially curling irons).
- When cooking, use the back burners and turn pot handles inward.
- Use covers on electrical outlets to prevent electrical burns and keep electrical cords out of reach.
- Install smoke detectors (and check them regularly to make sure they are working) and use flame retardant sleepware.
- Have an escape plan in case of fire in your home and teach your child fire safety (never play with matches, lighters, etc
- Do not leave matches, lighters or other flammable materials where your children can find them.
- Do not use portable heaters around young children.
- Leave fireworks to the professionals and don't allow your children to play with fireworks.
Burn Safety Internet Resources:
- Burn Treatment and Prevention: Information about the treatment and prevention of burn injuries in children, including first aid, safety tips, and support groups.