Burns are among the leading causes of deaths and injuries in the United States, and children are especially vulnerable.
Each day on average, two children die from burns and more than 300 are treated in emergency rooms. Because young children’s cognitive and motor abilities are not fully developed, they are more prone to accidental burns. And because they have thinner skin layers than adults, they can get deeper burn injuries at lower temperatures or shorter exposure times.
In recognition of National Burn Awareness Week, Feb. 3 – 9, Loyola Medicine’s acclaimed Burn Center is offering parents and caregivers advice on how to prevent burns in children.
“Thirty percent of our burn patients are children,” said Loyola Burn Center medical director Anthony Baldea, MD. “Most of these burns could have been prevented. While advances in treatments have led to better outcomes, the best strategy is to take simple precautions to prevent burns from occurring in the first place.”
In conjunction with the American Burn Association, which is sponsoring Burn Awareness Week, Loyola’s Burn Center is offering parents these safety tips:
- Never carry hot liquids while holding a child, and make sure your coffee cups and tea mugs have lids.
- If you have to leave the bathroom while bathing a child, take the child with you.
- Never place hot liquids on low coffee tables or end tables that a young child can reach. Don’t use table cloths or placemats that a child can pull down.
- Don’t give a child responsibility for doing a task that is above the child’s developmental ability. Such tasks include bathing, caring for a younger sibling, cooking, using a microwave, etc.
- Set water heaters at a maximum of 120 degrees or just below the medium setting. A safe bathing temperature is 100 degrees. Test the temperature at the faucet with a meat thermometer after allowing hot water to run for 1 to 3 minutes.
- Don’t leave the stove unattended while cooking. Turn handles of pots and pans toward the rear of the stove and use back burners when possible.
- Keep clothes irons, curling irons, etc. unplugged and out of reach.
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