From hot ovens and ranges to irons, room heaters, hot liquids or an open flame, a burn injury is one of the most painful and devastating injuries a child can suffer. Because young children have thinner skin than that of older children and adults, their skin burns more deeply and at lower temperatures. Each year, more than 600 children ages 14 and under die due to fire- and burn-related injuries, and another 100,000 are treated.
"A child who sustains a burn injury can suffer lifelong physical and psychological trauma," says Dr. Martin Eichelberger, president of the National SAFE KIDS Campaign and director of emergency trauma and burn services at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. "Following simple precautions to keep young children safe in their home environments can prevent this kind of unnecessary trauma. It is an injury no parent wants to see their child suffer through."
What Can You Do?
The National SAFE KIDS Campaign offers these burn prevention tips:
- Never leave a child alone in the bathroom or kitchen. If you must leave the room, take the child with you.
- Set your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
- Consider installing water faucets and showerheads containing anti-scald technology.
- Keep hot foods and liquids away from table and counter edges. Never carry or hold children and hot foods and/or liquids at the same time.
- Use back burners, and turn pot handles to the back of the stove when cooking.
- Keep appliance cords out of children's reach, especially if the appliances contain hot foods or liquids.
- Cover unused electrical outlets with safety devices.
- Install smoke alarms in your home on every level and in every sleeping area. Test them once a month, replace the batteries at least once a year (unless the batteries are designed for longer life), and replace the alarms every 10 years. Ten-year lithium alarms are also available and do not require an annual battery change.
- Keep matches, gasoline, lighters and all other flammable materials locked away and out of children's reach.
- Never allow children to handle fireworks. Burns account for approximately 55 percent of all firework-related injuries.