Safe Kids Kansas

Preventing Accidental Injury.

January 28, 2008

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

Parents Cautioned: It Doesn't Take a Fire to Burn a Child

Safe Kids Kansas observes Burn Awareness Week, Feb. 3-9

As the president proclaims Feb. 3-9, National Burn Awareness Week, 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 fifth leading 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, approximately 116,600 fire/burn-related injuries occur to children. In 2006, more than 100,600 children were treated in emergency rooms for burns. Approximately 8,000 children ages 2-14 were burned by hot water or steam in 2006. This type of burn is called a “scald burn,” and is a more prevalent type of burn-related injury in younger children than “contact burns,” which are more prevalent in older children and occur when fire is contacted directly. For children ages 0-14, there were 512 fire/burn deaths in 2004. “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:

It is still important to take precautions against fire in the home, too. “You need a smoke alarm on each 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, call 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, Elk, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Labette, Leavenworth, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Mitchell, Montgomery, 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. The lead agency for Safe Kids Kansas is the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. For more information visit