Every day throughout the United States, children arrive at emergency rooms for scald burn treatment. The major cause is contact with hot liquids, steam or hot foods. SafeKids USA says “90 percent of non-tap water scalds are caused during cooking or drinking hot liquids.” According to Shriners Hospitals for Children, “approximately 65 percent of children under age 4 hospitalized for burn injuries were scalded by hot liquids and 20 percent of those for contact burns.” www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/en/Education/BurnAwareness/HomeSafety.aspx
The majority of thermal burns to children under 14 years old are caused by contact with room heaters, ovens and ranges, clothing irons, gasoline, fireworks, hair curlers and curling irons. During the past 13 years, an average of 496 children each year died from unintentional fire or burn injury. According to the Shriners’ “Be Burn Aware” 2013 campaign, approximately 66 percent of electrical burn injuries in children ages 12 and younger are associated with household electrical cords and extension cords; and wall electrical outlet burns account for an additional 14 percent of electrical burn injuries.
Here are some tips to help avoid scald injuries to children:
- Lower water heater temperature to 120˚F (49˚C) or less;
- When filling a bathtub, run cold water first, then add in warmer water;
- Before placing a child in a bathtub, check the water temperature by rapidly moving your hand through the water. If the water feels hot to an adult it is too hot for a child.
- In the bathtub, face your child away from faucets;
- Use knob covers on faucets; and
- Always supervise your child closely in the bathtub.
And, to keep kids safe in the kitchen:
- Always supervise children under age 7 using a microwave;
- Turn pot handles on the stove inward; use oven mitts and potholders;
- Make sure that micro waved food is thoroughly stirred before consuming;
- Do not use deep fryers around children;
- Do not hold children in your arms while cooking or passing hot food to others;
- Test your baby’s food by placing one quarter spoonful on the underside of your wrist… if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for baby to safely swallow.
And, in case of a fire or burn emergency, Call 911 Immediately!
Posted by Marianne Frederick
Did you know that 60 to 75 percent of all burns that happen to children occur before they are five years old? Burns, especially scalds caused by exposure to hot water or other hot liquids, are some of the most common accidents and unintentional injuries that happen to children. Babies and young children are even more susceptible to burns because they are little, usually curious, and have children’s sensitive skin.
Unintentional injuries which usually occur in the home often result in a trip for parents, caregivers and children to the emergency room. Scalds from steam, hot bath water, spilled hot coffee or soup are the most common cause of burns to children. Contact with flames–in a stove, space heater, or fireplace–and or hot surfaces, such as hot pans, curling irons, hair dryers, and clothes irons–are the second leading cause of burns to young ones. Chemical burns involving exposure to chemicals are frequently caused by house-cleaning chemicals kept where children can access them. The culprits are often drain cleaner, bleach and strong bathroom tub and tile cleaners. Chemical burns can also be caused by swallowing tiny batteries, like watch and hearing aid batteries. Electrical burns frequently occur when children put their fingers or an object they are holding into an electrical socket or appliance, or even by biting through electrical cords. Of course, there is always the danger of burning caused by over-exposure to sun. For infant and toddler skin, sunburn is no laughing matter–and sunscreen is a basic requirement!
There are many ways parents and caregivers can help to prevent burns to children at home. Let’s explore some tips:
- Make sure electrical sockets have socket-covers (and that the socket covers are big enough that children who may remove them cannot choke on them);
- Anti-scald devices can be purchased and placed on home water faucets by a plumber–also the maximum temperature of water to faucets in homes can usually be adjusted at the water heater (also by a plumber);
- Always test your child’s bath water by placing a few drops on the inside of your arm–if it’s too hot for you, it’s way too hot for your child;
- Store all cleaning and other chemicals up high in cabinets with a lock–never under the kitchen sink;
- If you cook and your child is in the kitchen with you, stay in the kitchen–and place your child in a play area, playpen or child-safe seating away from heat sources;
- When you cook, place all pot handles to the rear of the stove–making them inaccessible to children’s reach;
- Do not hold a child in your arms and cook at the stove, or carry or pass hot dishes while holding your child in your lap;
- Make sure your home lamps, appliances, TVs and electronics are free of any frayed cords;
- Always check the lint screen on your clothes dryer, remove excess lint–and don’t leave the dryer running when you’re not home to check it;
- Don’t place fabric, bed clothes, rugs or decorations near space heaters, fire places or other heat sources;
- Instead of flame burning candles, use battery-powered flameless candles; and never leave home with candles, fireplace, or stove burning;
- And please make sure you have a working smoke detector in every room!
This is also a reminder, when the time changes soon, it’s a good time to check and change the batteries in your smoke detectors if necessary.