Safe Kids Kansas

Preventing Accidental Injury.

January 31, 2011

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. 6-12

During National Burn Awareness Week (Feb. 6-12), Safe Kids Kansas reminds parents and caregivers that fire is just one cause of burn injuries -- children can also be seriously injured by hot foods and beverages, 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. Children’s skin burns at lower temperatures and more deeply than that of older children and adults. A child exposed to 140-degree Fahrenheit liquid for five seconds will sustain a third-degree burn.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) nationally in 2009, 88,849 children ages 14 years and under were treated for unintentional fire/burn injuries and in 2007, 457 died due to unintentional fire/burn related injuries. Between 2003 and 2007, 28 children ages zero to14 died from unintentional fires and burns in Kansas. Scald burns, caused by hot liquids or steam, are more common types of burn-related injuries among young children, compared to contact burns, caused by direct contact with fire, which is more prevalent among older children. Hot tap water accounts for nearly one in four of all scald burns among children and is associated with more deaths and hospitalizations than any other hot liquid burns. “Kids are also at risk around hot foods and beverages, space heaters, steam irons and curling irons,” says Cherie Sage, State Director for Safe Kids Kansas. “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, too. “You need a smoke alarm on each level of your home and in every sleeping area. Make sure each alarm actually works,” says Sage. Test your smoke alarms once a month and replace the batteries once a year (except for lithium batteries that are longer lasting; refer 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 over 70 statewide organizations and businesses dedicated to preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children ages 0-14.   Local coalitions and chapters cover Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Butler, Clay, Coffey, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Elk, Ellis, Finney, Geary, Harvey, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Kiowa, Labette, Leavenworth, Marion, Marshall, McPherson,  Mitchell, Montgomery, Pottawatomie, Riley, Saline, Sedgwick, Shawnee, Smith, Sumner, and Wilson counties, as well as the city of  Emporia and the Metro Kansas City Area (Wyandotte county and several Missouri counties.)  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.

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