Thursday, February 7, 2013

Burn Awareness Week

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By Nurse Diane

During the winter months the temperatures around the country have been freezing and below.  People use many different methods to heat their homes.  Many use electric heat, through vents or either electric portable heaters.  Some use gas heaters, others use oil or kerosene, even fire places. My grandmother's home had a gas heater that was attached to the wall; it was long and flat, much like a mirror in a dressing room.  As a child I remember standing in front of it on cold winter mornings as it warmed up my backside.
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There is alot of cooking going on during the winter months too.  Many people cook soups, stews, coffee and hot chocolate.  This extra cooking not only warms up the kitchen, but warms up your insides too.

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One of the dangers with all this heating and cooking is that it can lead to fires and burns. A friend of mine in Virginia has recently had two family members lose their homes to fire.  This week is Burn Awareness Week.  While most adults are aware of the temperatures associated with cooking and heaters, young children are not.  They are curious, and want to explore new and different things in their surroundings. It is important to remember that children, especially those ages 4 and under, may not perceive danger, have less control of their environment, may lack the ability to escape a life-threatening burn situation and may not be able to tolerate the physical stress of a burn injury.

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According to,

Every day, 352 children ages 19 and under are injured as a result of a fire or burn-related cause.

Among children under 5 years of age, scalds or contact burns are responsible for 90 percent of burn injuries.

Children have thinner skin than adults which can result in a more severe burn.

The most common places children experience scalds are in the kitchen or dining rooms and in the bathrooms.

The maximum recommended residential water temperature is 120˚F (48˚C).

Their site lists some safety tips for you to follow in the kitchen and bathroom.  They include:


Keep children at least 3 feet from hot appliances, pots, pans or food.
Use spill-resistant mugs when drinking hot liquids around children.
Avoid using tablecloths or anything a child can pull on and cause hot food to spill.
When cooking, use back burners and keep pot handles turned towards the back of the stove.
Always tuck cords from appliances where children cannot reach them.
Never hold a child when cooking something hot.
Test and stir all food before serving children to make sure it is cool enough to eat.
Supervise children closely when they are in or near the kitchen.


Always test the bath water with your hand before bathing children.
When children are in or near the bath, watch them closely checking the water temperature frequently!
If you are unable to control the temperature that comes out of your faucet, install special tub spouts or shower heads that can shut off the flow of water when it gets too hot.

This week and every week - keep these tips in mind to prevent any accidental burns or scalding, and keep yourself and family safe.

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