Every household contains numerous objects and appliances that can cause mild to severe burns. While medical advances have significantly reduced the risk of major injury or fatality associated with burns, the best way to be safe from burns is to prevent them in the first place. Preventative steps can be taken by following simple steps and carefully monitoring daily activities throughout your home.
Hot liquids pose a serious burn risk. Keep children at a safe distance from hot liquids. Never leave hot liquids within the reach of a child and never give children beverages or soups that are too hot to consume. Young children tend to tug or pull on fabric, so it’s important to avoid the use of tablecloths in households with children too small to see over the table. A child could easily pull on a tablecloth and have a hot food, beverage, or appliance fall onto them.
Children should also be kept a safe distance from the stove whenever it is in use. Additionally, pot handles should never face outward into the kitchen. It’s important to turn the handles away from the edge of the stove so they are not accessible to young children, who may pull them off the stove and sustain a burn. A bottle warmer is much safer than the microwave, because liquid does not heat evenly in the microwave. This could result in burns to the infant’s mouth. Parents should test all foods and beverages heated in the microwave before giving them to a child.
It’s important to never hold a child while cooking with hot appliances. The child could easily reach down and touch a burner, a hot plate of food, or a food item removed from the microwave or oven.
It is best to unplug all appliances when they are not in use. This will prevent electrical fires or burns caused from exposed wires. Do not plug in large amounts of appliances at one time. Overloading outlets can cause sparks and electrical fires. It’s important to check electrical cords for fraying or exposed wires, which significantly increase the risk of electrical fires.
Check the fire detector for proper functioning on a monthly basis. It is vital that the detector has functioning batteries and a working alarm. A working fire alarm significantly reduces the risk of a house fire.
Make certain that the chimney is well cleaned before lighting a fire. Objects and debris that are stuck in the chimney can ignite and cause house fires. Properly discard any flaming or smoking objects in a wet receptacle. Never toss smoking objects into a dry receptacle as this can cause a fire.
Always supervise children when they are using matches, lighters, or fireworks. It’s important to educate children about the dangers of these items and instruct against their use without adult supervision.
Always check the temperature of bath water before placing a child into the bathtub. As children become old enough to bathe themselves, train them to test the water before entering it. Submerging in hot water without testing the temperature can result in scalding. It can also be helpful to reduce the temperature of the water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This will prevent the risk of serious scalding from household water.
Do not store dangerous or harmful chemicals within the reach of a child. Chemical burns are very serious and a small child cannot determine whether or not a substance is harmful. Chemicals should be placed on high shelves or in locked cabinets.
One of the most important burn prevention measures is to educate the child. Teach the child what the smoke detector sounds like and what they should do if they hear it go off. It is best to make a fire safety plan that consists of where and how to exit the house during a fire. This fire safety plan should be explained to the child every few months.
Teach children how to identify the exits of hotels, movie theaters, stores, and public buildings. This will increase the chance that they will safely exit the building in the case of a fire.
Always make sure that children are wearing sunscreen and shoes. This will prevent burns sustained from the sun. Thoroughly clean barbecues before use and use lighter fluid sparingly. This will prevent barbecue fires.