Dangers of Fires and Burn Injuries
When it comes to our children, safety is top priority. The responsibility lies with us to make sure that we do everything in our power to prevent them from being injured. Burns, for example, are one of the many dangers that can harm our kids. They are a leading cause of child injury, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 300 children ages 19 and below are treated in emergency rooms for burn-related injuries each day, and of those 300 children, two kids die as a result of being burned.
Fire tends to be the first thing that pops into people’s minds when they hear about someone being burned. While statistics show that fires kill about 500 children ages 14 and under each year, fire is not the only culprit. Steam and hot liquids are responsible for many burn injuries sustained by children as well. However, the CDC noted that younger children are more likely to suffer scald burns, while older children are the ones more likely to sustain flame burns.
Types of Burn Injuries and Symptoms
Burn injuries come in multiple forms. Burns that rise to the level of a first degree burn will result in pain and irritation to the outer skin. Second degree burns are more serious, and they affect the outer skin and delve into the skin. They result in pain, redness, and blistering. Third degree burns, also known as full thickness burns, penetrate the skin and affect nerves and tissue. Symptoms of burn injuries include redness, swelling, blistering, numbness, and peeling skin.
Ways to Protect Your Children from Burns and Fires
Luckily, there are prevention tips you can implement to keep your children safe from fire and burn injuries.
- Create a family fire escape plan. Teach children what to do when they hear a smoke alarm go off. Involve the children when creating the escape plan and practice it with them, similar to what teachers and educators do in school. In the plan, establish a meeting place outside, and make sure everyone knows at least two ways out of every room in case one of the two exits is blocked or engulfed in flames.
- Lock up lighters and matches. These need to be out of reach of children, especially if you smoke or light candles in front of them. Many children love to imitate their parents, so if they have access to lighters and matches, they may accidentally catch something on fire. Of course, children should be taught never to play with matches or lighters.
- Make sure your water heater temperature is at a safe temperature. With hot tap water scald burns causing more deaths and hospitalizations than any other hot liquid burns, it is recommended that you set your water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
- Invest in smoke alarms and sprinkler systems. Automatic sprinkler systems reduce the chance of dying in a residential fire by approximately 73 percent, while fire-related deaths are reduced by 82 percent when there are sprinkler systems as well as smoke alarms.
- Be careful when cooking. Hot liquids and foods spilled in the kitchen or another area where food is prepared and served cause most scald burns sustained by children. Keep children away from boiling water.
For more information on fire and burn prevention, you should visit the websites of Safe Kids Worldwide and the United States Fire Administration.