Every day, people around the world are cooking, baking, bathing, drinking coffee, and celebrating occasions such as birthdays. Most of these involve one common thing: heat. Fortunately, many of us know how to be safe when it comes to hot things, but children are often curious and do not understand the dangers of items that can be hot, or even sometimes hot like irons, bathtubs, and coffee pots.
The month of February is Burn Awareness Month, and a great time to discuss burn and scald prevention with your families. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, nearly 1,800 children ages 0 to 19 are treated in emergency rooms for burn-related injuries and six children die as a result of being burned each week. Younger children are most likely to sustain injuries from scald burns that are caused by hot liquids and steam, while older children are more likely to have injuries from flame burns that are caused by contact with fire.
“Children are extremely curious by nature,” said Marisa Schrieber, Fire and Life Safety Educator for the New Lenox Fire Protection District. “One of the ways they learn about their surroundings is through the sense of touch, and sometimes that can lead them to reach for hot items which can result in injuries. It is our job as their caregivers to protect them and teach them the dangers of hot items.”
Below are some reminders on how to prevent burns and scalds in our homes:
• Create a kid-free zone. Teach younger children to stay at least 3-feet away from cooking spaces and hot objects. Do not carry a child
while cooking on the stove, instead, place them in a highchair where you can watch them but is out of the way of anything hot.
• Keep hot objects out of children’s reach. Cook on the stove’s back burners and turn the pot handles away from the edge. Keep hot
foods and drinks away from the edge of counters and tables.
• Teach older children how to cook safely. Make sure they stay in the kitchen while cooking and use oven mitts or potholders to carry
hot pots and pans. Do not allow children to use microwaves by themselves until they are tall enough to reach it safely and
understand that steam can cause burns.
• Check bathwater temperature. Always double check the water temperature with the inside of your wrist or with a thermometer before
placing children in the bath. The water should feel warm to the touch, not hot.
• Watch children around fireplaces/fire pits. When fireplaces are turned on, the glass can be extremely hot and can take time to cool
down once it is off. Keep children away to prevent burns from the hot glass. Similarly, fires can often have sparks that fly out of them,
make sure to keep children a safe distance away and always have an adult present when a fire is burning.
• Check water heater temperature. Set water heater thermostats to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. This will prevent it from getting
too high throughout your home. Test the water at the tap if possible.
• Blow out candles and store matches out of reach. Make a habit of placing matches and lighters in a safe place, out of children’s
reach. Teach children that they are tools, not toys.
• Keep flammable materials away from space heaters and turn them off and unplug them when you leave the room. Remember to
keep space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn or catch fire.
• Childproof electrical outlets and appliances. Cover electrical outlets so children cannot insert any objects such as forks and keys.
Keep cords out of reach, especially if the appliance produces a lot of heat. Keep an eye on items like irons, curling irons and hair
dryers that heat up quickly or stay warm after use and unplug them once you are done.
For additional burn and scald prevention tips and facts, visit www.nlfire.com, contact the New Lenox Fire Protection District at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 815-463-4500.