Safe Kids Kansas

Preventing Accidental Injury.

January 29, 2013

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

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

Burn Awareness Week is Feb. 3-9

Topeka -- During National Burn Awareness Week (Feb. 3-9), 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.

Hot water scalds are the leading cause of burns to young children and can be caused by hot liquids or steam. Hot tap water accounts for nearly 1 in 4 of all scald burns among children and is associated with more deaths and hospitalizations than any other hot liquid burns. Young children are particularly at risk because they cannot recognize heat-related hazards quickly enough to react appropriately. Children’s skin is thinner than adults’ and burns at lower temperatures and more deeply. A child exposed to 140-degree Fahrenheit liquid for five seconds will sustain a third-degree burn.

“Burn hazards to children include hot foods and beverages, space heaters, steam irons and curling irons,” says Cherie Sage, Safe Kids Kansas. “There’s a lot you can do around the home to minimize the risk of burn injuries.”

Safe Kids Kansas urges caregivers to:

If a child is burned, the burned area should be place in, or flushed with, cool water.  Keep the burned area in the cool water for 10 to 15 minutes. Never use ice, ointments or butter. If the burn is severe, immediately seek emergency assistance.

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.