Each year during the first week of February, the
American Burn Association selects a relevant topic to kick off their media campaign to educate the
general public about burn prevention. For 2009, the focus is on scald
prevention and treatment. According to the
American Burn Association’s Scald Prevention Information, nearly 24,000 children are treated for scald injuries in emergency rooms
annually. The highest at risk groups for scald injuries are “young
children, older adults and people with disabilities."
According to Consumer Reports Health, the following are most common sources
- “Boiling water from pots, pans or kettles
- Very hot drinks, such as freshly brewed tea or coffee
- Steam from steamers or kettles
- Hot plates, hot rings, oven doors
- Hot irons
- Hot baths
- Hot faucets.”
Common sense prevention advice by the
American Burn Association includes:
- “Cook on back burners when young children are present. Keep all pot
handles turned back, away from the stove edge. All appliance cords should
be coiled and away from the counter edge. Curious children may reach up
and grab handles or cords, pulling hot food and liquid down onto themselves.
The grease in deep fat fryers and cookers can reach temperatures higher
than 400 degrees Fahrenheit and cause serious burns in less than one second.
- Place microwave ovens at a safe height, within easy reach for all users,
to avoid spills. Microwaves should be placed so that the faces of children
and people who use wheelchairs are higher than the front of the door.
- Set home water heaters no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit / 48 degree
Celsius. An easy method to test this is to allow hot water to run for
three to five minutes, then test with a candy, meat or water thermometer.
Adjust the water heater and wait a full day to allow the temperature to
change. Re-test and re-adjust as necessary.
- Provide constant adult supervision of young children or anyone who may
experience difficulty removing themselves from hot water on their own.
Gather all necessary supplies before placing a child in the tub, and keep
them within easy reach.
- Never drink or carry hot liquids while holding or carrying a child. Quick
motions (reaching or grabbing) may cause the hot liquid to spill, burning
the child or adult.”
American Burn Association Educator’s Guide suggests the following steps for dealing with a scald injury:
“Remove all diapers and clothing from around the burn area—these
will retain heat, increasing the damage to the skin. If material is adherent
(stuck) to the skin, cool the area
with cool water and seek medical attention. Jewelry and metal such as
belt buckles and
zippers also need to be removed.
- Run cool—not cold—water over the burn area for a few minutes.
- Do not apply ice directly to the burn. Ice can make the burn worse.
Do not apply creams, ointments or salves. These products retain heat in
- Do not break any blisters until seen by a physician. Cover with a clean,
First and second degree burns smaller than the person’s palm can
usually be treated at
home. Keep the area clean to prevent infection by gently washing with
soap several times a day and rinsing thoroughly. Cover open areas with
a clean, loose
- Consult with your family physician or local burn center if the burn does
not heal in 2-3 days or if signs of infection appear. Burns larger than
the person’s palm should be evaluated by a physician.”
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