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Preventing Burns in Children


Burn injuries are reported each year, with a good number occurring in the home. You can take the following simple steps to reduce your child's risk of getting burned:

Sleeping
  • Make sure your child's sleepwear is flame-resistant.
Cooking
  • Turn pot handles to the center or rear of the stove when cooking and use the back burners whenever possible.
  • Test the temperature of food heated in a microwave before giving it to a child. Microwaves tend to heat unevenly and some portions can be very hot.
  • Remember that kitchen appliances and cookware remain hot enough to burn for quite a while after you are done using them.
Eating and Drinking
  • Do not drink hot liquids when holding a baby. The liquid could spill and burn the baby.
  • Avoid using a tablecloth when children are learning to walk. A child could try to use it to pull herself up and knock a heavy object or something containing hot liquid onto herself.
Bathing
  • Use a baby bath thermometer to test the temperature of your child's bath water.
  • Lower the hot-water heater setting to 120°F (49°C) or the low-medium setting.
Fire Prevention
  • Keep cigarette lighters and matches away from children. Even a child as young as two can figure out how to use them.
  • Do not leave lit candles unattended. They are easy for children (or pets) to knock over.
  • Install smoke detectors on every floor of your home. Check battery-operated detectors every six months to make sure they are still working properly. Replace the batteries annually.
  • Consider having a fire extinguisher in the house. But only use it for small fires. In the event of a large fire, everyone should leave the house right away.
  • Create a fire escape plan and practice it with your children. Teach them to go outside if a fire occurs in the house.
Electricity and Appliances
  • Always supervise children around fires, stoves, heaters, or anything that could cause burn injury.
  • Cover unused electrical outlets with plastic plug covers.
  • Keep electrical cords from irons, coffee pots, and other appliances out of the reach of children.

RESOURCES:

American Burn Association
http://www.ameriburn.org/

Shriner's Hospital for Children
http://www.shrinershq.org/

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Burn Foundation
http://www.canadianburnfoundation.org/

Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/

References:

Age-related safety sheets. The Injury and Prevention Program (TIPP). American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: http://www.aap.org.

Keeping safe from burns. Healthy Children website. Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/all-around/pages/Keeping-Safe-From-Burns.aspx. Updated June 10, 2010. Accessed December 1, 2010.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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