This year’s theme of National Burn Awareness Week (February 4 – 9, 2019) is preventing scald burns at home. The American Burn Association (ABA), which created the annual awareness campaign, has compiled information to help prevent these painful injuries which most affect children. Sixty-two percent of people treated at burn centers for scald injuries are children under 5, according to the organization.
When cooking at home, create a safety zone with a three-foot radius around the stove where children are not allowed. Never hold a baby or child while you are cooking. Use the back burners and turn pot handles away from the front of the stove. When removing food from the oven, use dry pot holders to avoid creating steam that can cause injury. When using the microwave, remove tight-fitting lids and puncture plastic films so steam can escape. Open containers that have been microwaved slowly holding them away from your face. Keep mugs and other containers of hot liquids away from the edge of counters and tables.
Adjust the thermostat of the hot water heater so the temperature of the hot water does not exceed 120˚F. Consider installing a mixing valve or another anti-scald device. Always supervise children at bathtime. If you have to leave the bathroom, take them with you. Before placing a child in the tub, test the water temperature with a thermometer. It should not exceed 100˚F for babies, children and elderly people as they have thin skin which can burn easily. Swirl your hand with open fingers through the water, it should feel warm, not hot.
When Injury Occurs
If a scald injury does happen, run cool, not cold water over the injured area for five minutes. Remove all clothing or diapers near the injured skin and cover it with a clean, dry sheet. Seek medical attention if the injury needs more care.