HKQ Kids

Preventing Burns

If you touch a hot stove, you can expect to get burned. It’s obvious to us, but young children don’t know what to expect. Oftentimes, natural curiosity can lead to a painful first lesson about burns or scalds. According to the CDC, every day, over 300 children ages 0 to 19 receive emergency room treatment due to burning or scalding-related injuries. While older children are more likely to be burned by actual flames produced by things like matches, lighters, etc, younger kids and babies are most often treated for scald burns as a result of contact with steam or hot liquids. Here are some tips to keep your kids safe from scalds and burns:

  • Hot water is a leading cause of burn-related injuries in young children. You’ll want to make sure your water heater is set to about 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, with bath water at around 100 degrees. The default setting for water heaters can sometimes be in the 140 degree range, so you might have to alter the temperature if you haven’t modified it since installation. Test the water by dipping your elbow in; it should feel warm, but not hot. Always supervise your child when it’s bath time, and make sure they don’t touch the faucet.
  • Keep unused electrical outlets covered with safety caps. Make sure to replace any frayed or broken cords and wires, as these can be a fire hazard.
  • Keep hot beverages like tea and coffee away out of your child’s reach: off of low surfaces and in the center of tables or countertops. This can prevent burns from either an accidental spill or a taste test. Be wary of tablecloths or placemats, as kids can pull on them, which increases the risk of burning, as well as injuries from falling objects.
  • Of course, make sure any food you’re giving your children isn’t too hot to eat. If it’s too hot for you, it’s definitely too hot for them; be cautious of anything that’s been microwaved, as this can cause an unevenness in temperature.
  • In general, a child’s skin is thinner and more susceptible to burns than an adult’s; something that might not faze an adult or only cause minimal pain can still lead to moderate or severe pain in a child.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of reach and try to avoid brightly colored or novelty lighters that can be mistaken for toys.
  • When using the stove, try to use the back burners, and always keep handles turned inwards, away from any curious hands.
  • Make sure that devices like clothes irons and curling irons are out of reach and remember to unplug and store them away after use.
  • When the sun is shining, check your children’s car seats before putting them in for any hot straps or buckles.
  • As soon as kids are able to understand, teach them about areas that are off limits and what appliances can pose a threat to them if misused. Things like fireplaces, stoves, radiators, and space heaters should be taught as “do not touch” areas; if possible, keep these things blocked off/inaccessible when young children are around, and always make sure your child is supervised.

In the event of a burn:

  • Get your child to a calm, safe area if they aren’t in one already.
  • If there’s any clothing covering or getting in the way of the burned area, remove it.
  • Avoid using ice; instead, expose the injured area to cool running water for at least five minutes, preferably longer.
  • If the afflicted area is an arm or leg, if possible, keep it raised in order to prevent swelling.
  • Call your child’s pediatrician; they may recommend an ointment or cream to use in some cases.
  • Keep an eye on the injury in the following days; look out for signs of infection.
  • In the event of moderate to severe burns, call 911 immediately.

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