February 5th through February 11th, 2017 is National Burn Awareness Week. The goal of this week is to share burn awareness and prevention messages to communities to keep individuals free from burn related injuries. According to the American Burn Association (ABA), burn related injuries are a leading cause of unintentional injury and death in the United States. In 2013 alone, Safe Kids Worldwide states that 126,035 children under the age of 19 were seen in emergency rooms for treatment of fire and burn related injuries.
An overwhelming 73% of burn related injuries occur in the home and for children under five years of age, the in-home injury rate for burn related injuries increases to 95%. Younger children’s thinner layers of skin lead them to sustain deeper burn injuries at lower temperatures and shorter exposure time than adults. This causes children to be more susceptible to scald burns, which are caused by hot liquids or steam. Of all scald burn injuries, 62% occur to children less than five years of age.
The tips provided below will help reduce the risk of burn related injuries and ensure homes are safe for children:
Keep an eye on irons, curlers, and other heated appliances to ensure children are not around them when plugged in and heated. Make sure to unplug all appliances when you are done using them.
Do not leave a stove that is in use unattended. Children should stay at least three feet away from stoves.
Use the back burners on the stove and turn pot handles away from the edge.
Keep hot foods and liquids away from the edge of tables or counters and avoid using tablecloths that children can pull off the table.
If children are too young to read and follow directions to cook food in the microwave, do not allow them to use the microwave without supervision. For older children, teach them to use potholders when removing items from the microwave and open lids away from themselves to avoid scalds from steam.
Set your water heater to 120 degrees F/48 degrees C or just below the medium setting and always check the temperature of bathwater before placing your child in the tub.
These are just a few of the many tips parents and caregivers can follow to help keep their children safe and free from burn related injuries. For more information about burn awareness and prevention or other childhood safety related topics, please contact the Center for Childhood Safety at (920) 272-0110 or visit www.ccsgb.org.