We all want to keep our children safe and secure and help them grow to live to their full potential. Knowing how to prevent leading causes of child burns, is key to achieving this goal.

Every day, over 300 children ages 0 to 19 are treated in emergency rooms for burn-related injuries and two children die as a result of being burned.

Burn safety is a foreign concept to most young explorers. One of the most difficult lessons young children learn is that some things such as stoves, radiators and flickering flames, can be painfully hot.

Younger children are more likely to get injuries from scald burns that are caused by steam or hot liquids, while older children are more likely to get injuries from flame burns that are caused by direct contact with fire.

Thankfully, there are ways you can help protect your children from burns and take precautions to prevent injuries and dangerous situations.

Many ordinary things in a home including bath water, food and electrical outlets, can cause childhood burns.

To prevent burns at home In General:

  • Reduce water temperature. Set the thermostat on your hot water heater to below 120 F (48.9 C). Aim for bath water around 100 F (38 C). Check the temperature of bath water with your hand before putting your child in the bath.
  • Avoid hot spills. Don’t cook, drink, or carry hot beverages or foods while holding a child. Keep hot foods and liquids away from table and counter edges. Don’t use tablecloths or place mats, which young children can pull down. Turn the handles of your pots and pans toward the rear of the stove and use back burners when possible. Don’t leave the stove unattended when you’re cooking.
  • Establish ‘no’ zones. Block access to the stove, fireplace, space heaters and radiators. Don’t leave a child unattended in a room when these items are in use.
  • Keep hot devices out of reach. Store items designed to get hot, such as clothes irons or curling irons, unplugged and out of reach.
  • Test food temperature before feeding young children. Be careful with food or liquids warmed in a microwave, which might heat foods unevenly. Never warm a baby’s bottle in the microwave.
  • Choose a cool-mist vaporizer. They prevent steam burns.
  • Address outlets and electrical cords. Cover unused electrical outlets with safety caps. Keep electrical cords and wires out of the way so that children don’t pull on or chew on them. Replace frayed, broken or worn electrical cords.
  • Choose fire-resistant fabrics. Check labels to make sure mattresses and pajamas meet federal flammability standards.
  • If you smoke, don’t smoke in the house, especially when you’re tired, taking medicines that can make you drowsy, or in bed.
  • Hide matches, lighters, chemicals, and lit candles out of kids’ reach.
  • Be careful with candles. Keep burning candles out of reach of children, and extinguish candles before leaving the room.
  • Use space heaters wisely. Keep space heaters at least 3 feet (about 1 meter) away from bedding, drapes, furniture and other flammable materials. Never leave a space heater on when you go to sleep.
  • Keep your fireplace clean. An annual cleaning and inspection of a fireplace and chimney can help prevent a chimney fire.
  • Store flammable materials. Store flammable liquids tightly sealed in original containers, out of reach of children and away from sources of heat or flames.

Never leave a room unattended when candles, fireplaces or heaters are in use.

Fire emergency plan – to prevent injury if a fire occurs:

  • Prevent house fires by making sure you have a smoke alarm on every level of your home and in each bedroom. Check these monthly and change the batteries twice a year. If you don’t have smoke alarms, ask your local fire company how to get them.
  • Clean alarms monthly and push the button on the alarm every month to make sure it works. Use long-life batteries or change them at least once a year. Replace smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old.
  • Teach children to stop, drop and roll. Teach children what to do if their clothes catch on fire. Stop immediately and don’t run; drop to the floor and cover the face with hands; and roll on the floor to put out flames.
  • Practice an evacuation plan. Create an evacuation plan and practice it every six months. Determine with two ways out of the house, and choose a meeting place for once you are out of the. Don’t use lockable doorknobs on a child’s bedroom. Teach your children to leave a smoky area by crawling on the floor.
  • Keep an emergency ladder on upper floors of your home in case there is a fire. Keep the ladder in or near the room of an adult or older child who knows how to use it.
  • Learn to use a fire extinguisher. Keep a working fire extinguisher in your home or in the kitchen. Place it high on a wall near an exit. Learn how to use the device properly.

You can’t keep kids free from injuries all the time, but these simple safety tips can help prevent burns and fires in your home:

Living Room:

  • Put up a screen/guard around fireplaces and wood-burning stoves and always keep kids 1m away from them. Radiators and electric baseboard heaters also might need to be screened.
  • Teach kids never to put anything into the fireplace when it is lit. Also make sure they know the doors to the fireplace can be very hot and cause a burn.
  • Make sure to have all chimneys checked and cleaned regularly.

Bedrooms:

  • Choose sleepwear that’s labeled flame-retardant (either polyester or treated cotton). Cotton sweatshirts or pants that aren’t labeled as sleepwear often aren’t flame-retardant. If you use cotton sleepwear, make sure that it fits your child snugly.
  • Make sure any nightlights aren’t touching fabric like bedspreads or curtains.
  • Keep electric space heaters at least 91cm away from kids and away from beds, curtains, or anything flammable.
  • If you use a humidifier or vaporizer, use a cool-mist model rather than a hot-steam one.

Bathrooms:

  • Set the thermostat on your hot water heater to 49°C, or use the “low-medium setting” — a child can be scalded in 5 seconds in water at 60°C. If you can’t control the water temperature (if you live in a flat, for example), install an anti-scald device, ask about an anti-scald device, which isn’t expensive and can be easily installed by you or a plumber.
  • Always test bath water with your elbow or the inside of your wrist before putting your child in it.
  • Always turn the cold water on first and turn it off last when running water in the bathtub or sink.
  • In the tub, turn kids away from the faucet or fixtures so they’re less likely to play with them or accidentally turn on the hot water.
  • Make sure you have grounded circuit breakers in the bathroom.
  • Make sure older kids are especially careful when using irons or curling irons. Unplug these items after use. When cool, store out of reach of young children.

Kitchen/Dining Room:

  • Have a 1m “no play” zone around the stove where kids are not allowed to be. Keep rolling or moving toys out of the kitchen.
  • Keep hot drinks and foods out of reach of children.
  • Don’t drink hot liquids or soup with a child sitting on your lap, or carry hot liquids or dishes near kids. If you have to walk with hot liquid in the kitchen like a pot of soup or cup of coffee, make sure you know where kids are so you don’t trip over them.
  • Don’t hold a baby or small child while cooking.
  • Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove every time you cook.
  • Block access to the stove as much as possible. It’s a good idea to install a stove lock and stove knob locks.
  • Don’t warm baby bottles in a microwave. The liquid may heat unevenly, and create pockets of hot breast milk or formula that can scald a baby’s mouth.
  • Avoid using tablecloths or large placemats. A small child can pull on them and overturn a hot drink or plate of food.
  • Unplug all kitchen appliances when not in use and keep cords far from reach.
  • Make sure to use cupboard locks on cupboards containing cleaning products. Many can cause burns. Always store cleaning products in their original containers, never in milk or plastic jugs.

Electrical Equipment and Appliances:

  • Put child-safety covers on all electrical outlets.
  • Get rid of equipment and appliances with old or frayed cords and extension cords that look damaged.
  • Tie extra cord from lamps or other electrical equipment with a twist-tie to prevent injury from chewing on cords. You also can buy a holder or spool specially designed to hide extra cord.
  • Put TV and stereo equipment against walls so small hands can’t reach back surfaces or cords. It’s best to attach TVs to the wall.
  • Make sure all wires to seasonal lighting, such as holiday tree lights, are properly insulated. Make sure they don’t have exposed or broken wiring. Tie any extra cord with a twist-tie and unplug lights when they’re not in use.
  • Check electronic toys often for signs of wear and tear. Throw away or repair any object that sparks, feels hot, or smells odd. Replace batteries in electronic toys regularly and look for any signs of corrosion in the toys.
  • Clean the clothes dryer vent of lint after each use.
  • Don’t run electrical wires under rugs or carpet.
  • Don’t overload electrical sockets.
  • Keep any decorative items away from windows, doors, and ceilings. Make sure anything you have near the ceiling is not blocking any sprinklers you may have put in.

Burn safety outdoors – to protect children from outdoor hazards:

  • Watch grills, fire pits and camp fires. Never leave them unattended.
  • Before leaving your parked car on a hot day, hide the seatbelts’ metal latch plates in the seats to prevent the sun from hitting them directly.
  • Check car seats. Before placing your child in a car seat, check for hot straps or buckles. If you park in direct sunlight, cover the car seat with a towel or blanket.
  • Remove your child’s safety seat or stroller from the hot sun when not in use because kids can get burns from hot vinyl and metal. If you must leave your car seat or stroller in the sun, cover it with a blanket or towel.
  • Avoid backyard fireworks. Don’t let children play with or near fireworks or sparklers.
  • Use park equipment carefully. If it’s very hot outside, use the equipment only in the morning, after it’s had a chance to cool down during the night.
  • Don’t forget the sunscreen when going outside. Use a product with an SPF of 15 or higher. Apply sunscreen 20–30 minutes before going out and reapply every 2 hours or more often if in water.
  • Keep babies under 6 months old out of the sun.

Even with these safety tips in place, kids still can get hurt and accidents do happen. But being prepared will help you to act quickly and confidently if an emergency happens.

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