Safekids Logo

1000 SW Jackson Suite 230
Topeka, KS 66612-1274
(785) 296-1223
(785) 296-8649 (FAX)

Jan Stegelman

Executive Committee:
Randall Bolin

Dennis Cooley, MD
Medical Advisor
American Academy of
Pediatrics, Kansas

John Drees
Douglas County
SAFE KIDS Coalition

John Halbran
Kansas Safety Belt
Education Office

Jim Keating
Kansas State
Firefighters Association

Elena Nuss
Kansas State
Fire Marshal's Office

Cindy Samuelson
Kansas Hospital Association

For Immediate Release:
February 1, 2007

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

It Doesn't Take a Fire to Burn a Child

Safe Kids Kansas observes Burn Awareness Week, Feb. 4-10

As the president proclaims National Burn Awareness Week (February 4-10), Safe Kids Kansas reminds parents and caregivers that fire is just one cause of burn injuries — children can also be seriously injured by hot liquids, heating appliances, hot pots and pans, electrical currents and chemicals.

Among all accidental injuries, fire and burns are the number five cause of death in children ages 14 and under — in part because young children cannot recognize heat-related hazards quickly enough to react appropriately. A child will suffer a full-thickness burn (third-degree burn) after just three seconds of exposure to 140-degree water and will need surgery and skin grafts.

Each year, in the United States, more than 116,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for burns and fire-related injuries. “Hot liquids can be very dangerous, and kids are also at risk around steam irons, curling irons and space heaters,” says Jan Stegelman, Safe Kids Kansas coordinator. “There’s a lot you can do around the home to minimize the risk of burn injuries in everyday life.”

Safe Kids Kansas urges caregivers to:

  • Set water heaters to 120 degrees F or lower. Consider putting an anti-scald device (about $30) on each water tap and showerhead, and check the temperature of a baby’s bathwater before putting the baby in.
  • Prevent spills. If possible, cook on a back burner. Don’t let pot handles stick out where they can snag loose clothing, and avoid wearing long sleeves or baggy clothes in the kitchen. Don’t place containers of hot food or liquid near the edge of a counter, and don’t pick up anything hot while holding a baby.
  • Keep electrical cords out of reach — especially extension cords and cords connected to heating appliances. Make sure electrical cords can’t be pulled or snagged into a bathtub or sink. Don’t leave a hot iron sitting on an ironing board unattended.
  • Childproof your home. Cover unused electrical outlets. Lock matches, lighters and flammable materials out of a child’s reach. The basics go a long way toward preventing burns and other injuries.
  • Actively supervise. Simply being in the same room with a child is not necessarily supervising. A young child in the same room as hot surfaces, hot liquids or open flames should be under constant, close supervision of an adult paying undivided attention.
  • Don’t let kids play with fireworks. Fireworks injure more than 4,000 children a year. Fireworks are intended for use by adults in open spaces, with plenty of active supervision for every child present.

It is still important to take precautions against fire, too. “You need a smoke alarm on every occupied level of the home and in every sleeping area, and make sure each one actually works,” says Stegelman. Test your smoke alarms once a month and replace the batteries every six months (except for lithium batteries that last for 10 years, according to manufacturer’s instructions). A working smoke alarm reduces the risk of dying in a fire by about 50 percent.

For more information about burn prevention, visit

Safe Kids Kansas, Inc. is a nonprofit Coalition of 67 statewide organizations and businesses dedicated to preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children ages 0-14. Local coalitions and chapters are located in Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Clay, Coffey, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Leavenworth, Marion, McPherson, Meade, Mitchell, Montgomery, Nemaha, Osage, Pottawatomie, Republic, Rice, Riley, Saline, Smith, Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Wilson and Woodson Counties, as well as the cities of Chanute, Emporia, Leavenworth, Norton, Pittsburg, the Wichita Area and the Metro Kansas City Area. Safe Kids Kansas a member of Safe Kids Worldwide , a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury.