Burn injuries are among the worst possible injuries. They often prove fatal. Even when burn injuries are not life-threatening, they are incredibly painful and often cause permanent scarring and disfigurement. Children are particularly susceptible to burn injuries. For example, the smell of cookies baking in the oven or cooling on a hot cookie sheet is hard for a child to resist. A fireplace may still contain extreme heat even after a fire has ostensibly died out. In short, potential burn hazards are not always readily obvious to a child.
Statistics make clear the risk to children of burn hazards. In 2013 alone, more than 126,000 children in the United States were treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to a fire or a burn. Over 67,000 of these burn victims were children 4-years-old and younger.
Here are a few basic tips published by Safe Kids Worldwide (www.safekids.org) to protect children from burn-related injuries:
- Don’t carry or hold a child while cooking on the stove. Instead, move a high chair in the kitchen within reach or sight before you start. Then talk to your children so they know what’s going on. It’s a great way to spend time together.
- With everything going on, we know the water heater is the last thing on your mind. But a small adjustment can give you one less thing to worry about. To prevent accidental scalding, set your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or the manufacturer’s recommended setting.
- Kids love to reach, so to prevent hot food or liquid spills, simply use the back burner of your stove and turn pot handles away from the edge. Keep hot foods away from the edge of your counters.
- Make a habit of placing matches, gasoline and lighters in a safe place, out of children’s reach. Avoid novelty lighters or lighters that look like toys.