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Protecting Your Children

Protecting Your Children from Burn Accidents

Burn injuries can be avoided

Burns are a common cause of preventable injury, affecting over one million people in the United States and lead to the hospitalization of nearly 40,000 children each year. Research shows, however, that more than 80 percent of burns to children are preventable.

Burns are a potential hazard in every home. In fact, the majority of burns to children occur primarily at home, in the kitchen or bathroom. Although children can be burned by hot liquids, household appliances, sun exposure, etc. scalding burns are the most common burn injury in younger children. These burns can occur as a child knocks over a coffee cup, grabs the handle and spills a pot of boiling water on the stove or washes up under a too-hot faucet.

The first step to preventing burns is to understand some of the common causes such as:

  • Scalds, the number one burn injury amongst children, caused by steam, hot bath and /or faucet water, cooking fluids and tipped over hot drinks.
  • Contact with flames or hot objects from a stove, fireplace, irons and curling irons.
  • Electrical burns from putting fingers or objects into electrical outlets.
  • Chemical burns from swallowing and/or spilling chemicals on the skin.
  • Overexposure to the sun.

Burns are often categorized as first, second or third-degree burn, depending on how bad the skin is damaged.

First-degree burns are the mildest of the three and are limited to the top layer of skin. They produce redness, pain and minor swelling and the skin is dry and without blisters. Second-degree burns are more serious and involve the skin layers beneath the top layer. These burns produce blisters, severe pain and redness. Third-degree burns are the most serious type of burn and involve all the layers of the skin and underlying tissue. The surface of a third-degree burn appears dry and can even look waxy white, leathery, brown or charred. There may be little or no pain or the area may feel numb at first because or nerve damage. Most burn injuries can be prevented before they happen. Ways to prevent burn injuries are:

  • Turn cold water on first and off last for baths and adjust your hot water heater’s thermostat to below 120 degrees to prevent scald burns.
  • Make sure the handles of pots and pans don’t stick out over the edge of the stove where they could be bumped.
  • Don’t’ leave stirring utensils in pots while cooking.
  • Turn off all burners and ovens when they’re not in use.
  • Have adequate dry potholders or oven mitts hanging near your stove.
  • Keep hot beverages out of the reach of children.
  • Put child safety covers on all electrical outlets.
  • Screen all fireplaces and wood burning stoves.
  • Use irons and curling irons with care.
  • Use “cool” mist vaporizers and humidifies. Source: kidshealth.org


You should be able to answer YES to each question below. Any NO answer can be a fire hazard.

  • Does your family regularly test and change the batteries in your smoke alarms?
  • Is there at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home and outside the sleeping area?
  • Does everyone in your family know two ways out of every room in your home?
  • Does everyone in your family know to look for the fire exists when they are in a public building?
  • Have you and your family had a fire drill at home to make sure everyone knows how to escape if you had to?
  • Is there a fire extinguisher in your home and do you and your family know how to use it?
  • Are all extension cords kept out from under rugs, carpets and off nails and pipes?
  • Are all electrical cords in good condition?
  • Have all the windows in your house been checked to be sure that they all open easily?
  • Does your family have a fire escape plan posted that shows all the exits from your house or apartment?
  • Does your family know how to get out quickly and stay out of a burning building?
  • 12. Does everyone in your family know the safe meeting place outside in case of a fire escape?
  • 13. Do you and your family know how to call the fire department in case of an emergency?
  • 14. Do all smokers at home know never to smoke in bed?
  • 15. Is there a tight-fitted screen in front of the fireplace?
  • 16. Is the chimney cleaned each year?
  • 17. Are curtains and clothing kept away from stoves and heaters?
  • 18. Is gasoline and other flammable liquids kept in proper containers?
  • 19. Are areas outside your house clear of trash, high weeds, rubbish, etc.?

Firefighting sprinklers

Fire sprinklers are designed to save lives because they control fires so quickly. They also reduce property damage. A residential fire sprinkler sprays approximately 10 to 18 gallons of water per minute and operates early in a fire to stop the burning. Sprinklers will extinguish a typical residential fire in less than one minute to dramatically improve survival rates. A hose used by fire-fighters flows 10 times that amount, 175-200 gallons a minutes.

Each sprinkler is individually activated by heat. Smoke does not trigger sprinkler operation. The rest of the sprinklers in a house will not activate unless there is also a fire in that location.

Sprinkler facts:

  • Only the sprinkler head that is affected by the fire will activate.
  • Sprinkler heads are activated by heat only. Smoke without heat will not cause a sprinkler to activate.
  • Sprinklers are designed to activate at temperatures between 135 and 175 degrees.
  • Fire sprinklers provide early fire warning, but do not replace smoke alarms.
  • An average size room only needs one sprinkler.

For more information about fire sprinklers go to www.nfsa.org.

Did You Know?

  • At 155 degrees Fahrenheit it takes one second for a child to get a third degree burn. A fresh cup of coffee is served at 180 degrees or higher.
  • In the United States, 250,000 children, ages 0-17, are burned seriously enough each year to require medical attention.
  • Some of the most common burn injuries to children include: hot beverage spills, hot tap water, clothing irons, oven and fireplace doors and hair curling irons.

Source: childburn.org

Candle Fire Safety

  • Keep candles a minimum of 1 foot in all directions from flammable items.
  • Place candles on secure flat surfaces.
  • Avoid burning candles for more than 4 hours at a time.
  • Extinguish all candles before leaving the house or going to bed.

Ready To Take Action?

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