It’s currently Burn Awareness Week, and for good reason. Among all accidental injuries, fire and burns are the number five cause of death in children ages 14 and younger — in part because young children cannot recognize heat-related hazards quickly enough to react appropriately.
Children’s skin burns at lower temperatures and more deeply than that of older children and adults. A child exposed to 140-degree Fahrenheit liquid for five seconds will sustain a third-degree burn.
Each year, approximately 113,600 children ages 14 and younger are treated for fire/burn injuries and 518 children die due to unintentional fire- and burn-related injury. Scald burns, caused by hot liquids or steam, are more common types of burn-related injuries among young children, compared to contact burns, caused by direct contact with fire, which is more prevalent among older children. The pediatric surgery department at Dayton Children’s receives over 50 visits each month for burns.
Anyone can be at risk for a serious burn when distracted or not careful. As we race around making dinner in the evening or leave hot coffee on the counter to answer the door – it’s really important to make sure hot items are kept away from curious children. It is important to teach your child safety around hot items in order to prevent burns, but nothing can take the place of supervision.
Burn Prevention Tips:
- Keep hot foods and drinks away from the edge of tables and counters. Do not put them on a tablecloth that little hands can yank.
- If you’re holding something hot, don’t hold your child too.
- When you cook, keep your child away from the stove. Tell children that when you are cooking you are not to be bothered.
- Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove. If possible, use rear burners.
- Watch for dangling appliance cords.
- Prepare non-microwaveable snacks if children are not fully supervised.
- Test heated food and liquids before serving children.
- Always check the water temperature before placing your child in the tub. A child’s skin burns more easily than an adult’s.