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Preventing Burn Injuries

During the last 20 years, fatalities and injuries from burns and fires have decreased significantly. This is due to an increase in public awareness of fire prevention, as well as safer manufacturing of many consumer products.

The following tips can increase burn awareness and promote fire safety:

  • Periodically, check electrical plugs and cords for dirt or fraying.

  • Keep appliances unplugged when not in use.

  • When working with a hot liquid, keep your child safely away from the source.

  • If you have a toddler or small child at home, avoid using a tablecloth. The child may pull on the corner of the tablecloth, causing potentially hot objects to fall on them.

  • Teach your child what to do in case of a house fire. Practice your exit strategy and teach them how to put out a fire.

  • When cooking with hot oil or a deep fryer, keep your child a safe distance from the source.

  • When cooking, keep pot handles turned inward on the stovetop and away from the edge of the stove.

  • If you use a microwave to heat your child's food, test the temperature before giving it to your child.

  • Heating formula or milk in a microwave can be dangerous, as the liquid does not heat uniformly. Some portions may be hotter than others. Use a bottle warmer as a safer means to warm infant formula and milk.

  • If you are cooking on the stove or in the microwave, do not hold your child as you remove items from these appliances.

  • Teach your child to stay away from lighters and matches. Keep these items out of a child's reach.

  • Before placing a child or infant in a bathtub, check the water temperature with your hand.

  • Train your children to identify exits in public places, theaters, concert halls, and hotels.

  • Turn down your water heater to 120° F.

  • Check alternative heating devices for safe operation (electric space heaters or kerosene heaters).

  • Check smoke detector batteries and clean your smoke detector often.

  • Change smoke detector batteries twice a year. Choose two dates that are easy to remember such as when you change your clocks, or on a summer or winter holiday.

  • Before using barbecues or grills, clean them of grease buildup and use lighter fluid sparingly.

  • Make sure your child uses a sunblock whenever he or she is in the sun.

  • Don't allow children to play with fireworks.

  • Encourage children to wear shoes in the summer and avoid walking on hot asphalt or hot sand.

  • When traveling, know where hotel and motel exits are in case of a fire.

  • Store harmful chemicals and cleaners in an area where children will not be able to access them.

  • Before using a chimney or fireplace during the winter months, have them cleaned.

  • Always discard smoking materials in a deep or wet receptacle.

  • Don't overload electrical outlets.

  • During a power outage, use flashlights instead of candles.

  • During Halloween, assure that your child is wearing a flame-retardant costume.

  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and garage. Make sure family members know its location. Check it periodically to make sure it stays in good working order. Replace it if necessary.

  • Use the following tips for Christmas tree safety:

    • Check tree lights and decorations.

    • Keep trees well-watered.

    • Unplug all lights when leaving home for any length of time.

    • Don't block an exit with Christmas decorations.

Online Medical Reviewer: Finke, Amy, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Perez, Eric, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 5/1/2017
© 2000-2018 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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