Every day, over 300 children ages 0 to 19 are treated in emergency rooms for burn-related injuries. Of those, two children die as a result of fire accidents. Domestic fires pose one of the greatest risks to children. Children playing with matches and lighters frequently start house fires.
Younger children are more likely to sustain injuries from scald burns that are caused by hot liquids or steam, while older children are more likely to sustain injuries from flame burns that are caused by direct contact with fire.
To prevent burns from fires:
- Be alarmed. Install and maintain smoke alarms in your home—on every floor and near all rooms family members sleep in. Test your smoke alarms once a month to make sure they are working properly.
- Have an escape plan. Create and practice a family fire escape plan, and involve kids in the planning. Make sure everyone knows at least two ways out of every room and identify a central meeting place outside.
- Cook with care. Use safe cooking practices, such as never leaving food unattended on the stove. Also, supervise or restrict children’s use of stoves, ovens, or microwaves.
- Keep matches and lighters out of sight and reach of children
- Extinguish and dispose of cigarettes properly
To prevent burns from scalding water:
- Check water heater temperature. Set your water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Infants who aren’t walking yet can’t get out of water that may be too hot, and maintaining a constant thermostat setting can help control the water temperature throughout your home—preventing it from getting too high.Scalds and burns
Many of the children who go to accident and emergency with a burn or a scald are referred on for further hospital treatment. Recovery may be long and painful and many are left with permanent scarring.
Hot drinks cause most scalds to children under the age of five. A child’s skin is much more sensitive than an adult’s and a hot drink can still scald a child 15 minutes after being made. Young children are also very vulnerable to sunburn.
Hot bath water is responsible for the highest number of fatal and severe scalding injuries among young children. .
Children can also suffer burns after contact with open fires, a cooker, irons, curling tongs and hair straighteners, cigarettes, matches, cigarette lighters and many other hot surfaces.
- Never hold a hot drink and a child at the same time
- Never leave young children alone in the bathroom
- Put hot drinks out of reach and away from the edges of tables
- Keep small children out of the kitchen whenever possible
- When running a bath turn the cold water on first and always test the water temperature with your elbow before letting a child get into the bath or shower
- Always use rear hot plates and turn the pan handles away from the front of the cooker
- Keep hot irons, curling tongs and hair straighteners out of reach even when cooling down.