Burn injuries are one of the most common childhood accidents, and just about every child will suffer some type of burn injury growing up. Although most burns are minor, some of these injuries can be quite severe. Every year children are permanently disfigured or even killed from a bad burn. Sixty to seventy-five percent of all burn injuries to children occur before the age of five, so parents of preschoolers need to be especially cautious.
Common sources of burn injuries to children
- The stove
- Your fireplace
- Space heaters
- Lamps and light bulbs
- Hair curling irons
- Hot irons
- Portable stoves
- Hot liquids
- Coffee pots
Commercial hand dryers: The hot-air hand dryers you see in public restrooms can become quite hot, and tend to be at just the right height for a child’s face. Many children suffer minor burns each year by touching the metal part, which can get hot enough to cause a burn.
Car cigarette lighters: Kids may fiddle with these, pushing it in to engage the lighter and then taking it out to burn themselves. If your car has a cigarette lighter, either remove it altogether or take it out and keep it in a separate spot.
Microwave foods: Although safer than traditional stovetops, microwave related burns still send an estimated 2,000 children to the emergency room each year. A recent study by the University of Chicago Medical Center found that even toddlers could open a microwave and pull out hot foods and drinks. Microwaves can also heat food unevenly, and so a child may be burned by biting into something that is too hot.
Simple burn prevention steps could prevent nearly every childhood burn from occurring in the first place:
- Keep all hot liquids safely out of the reach of children. Scald burns are the most common among younger children, because their curiosity has them reaching for things higher than them (such as something on the stove or counter). They can easily pull off that cup of hot coffee, that pan on the stove, or another hot liquid right onto themselves.
- Turn pot handles inward when cooking, and use the back burners of the stove whenever possible.
- Drink all hot liquids in a spill proof container.
- Lower the setting of your water heater to below 120 degrees to avoid scald burns.
- Keep children out of the room when cooking, as grown-ups can be prone to accidents as well.
- Encourage use of hats during outdoor activities.
- Monitor children around all fire pits and fireplaces.