Burn-Proof Your Home

Fire and burn awareness involve more than just keeping kids away from hot stoves.

When you childproof your home, you pick up small objects that could be choking hazards. You put gates on the stairs and locks on the cabinets. You make sure window blind cords aren't hanging where a toddler could get tangled in them. But do you check for burn hazards?

National Burn Awareness Week, from February 4 through 10 this year, brings together local fire departments and health and medical professionals to educate the public about how to prevent burn injuries. And burn awareness is about more than just keeping kids away from hot stoves — it's not just in the kitchen, but in the bathroom, laundry room and any room with electronics or appliances.

Each year, in the United States, more than 116,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for burns and fire-related injuries — in part because young children cannot recognize danger quickly enough to react appropriately, and because a child's skin is thinner than an adult's and more susceptible to burns. A child will suffer a full-thickness burn — a third-degree burn — after just three seconds of exposure to 140-degree water and may need surgery and skin grafts.

Scald burns
Kids can be burned by hot liquids in the bathroom, kitchen or dining room. In fact, scalding is the most common type of burn injury among babies and toddlers. To prevent scalding from hot bathwater or tap water, set your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower — or put an anti-scald device on every water tap and shower head. (These devices are available at hardware stores for approximately $30.) Mix hot and cold water in a baby's bath and always check the temperature before putting the baby in.

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