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Posted: Wednesday, January 22nd 2014 at 9:15am

Parents cautioned: It doesn’t take a fire to burn a child

By Staff
GAINESVILLE - During National Burn Awareness Week (February 2-8), Safe Kids Gainesville/Hall County, led by Northeast Georgia Medical Center, reminds parents and caregivers that fire is just one cause of burn injuries. Scalding is a big factor.

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, hot tap water burns, which most often occur in the bathroom, tend to be more severe and cover a larger portion of the body than other scald burns.

Each year, approximately 136,000 children ages 14 and under are treated for fire and burn related injuries and 365 children die due to those injuries. Scald burns, caused by hot liquids or steam, are more common types of burn-related injuries among young children, compared to contact burns, caused by direct contact with fire, which is more prevalent among older children.

Hot tap water can cause very severe burns and accounts for many deaths and hospitalizations.

“Kids are also at risk around hot foods and beverages, space heaters, steam irons and curling irons,” says Kimberly Martin, Safe Kids Gainesville/Hall County Coalition Coordinator. “There’s a lot you can do around the home to minimize the risk of burn injuries in everyday life.”

“Continuous supervision of young children is the most important factor in preventing tap-water scald burns, but there are additional simple preventive measures that can be taken,” says Mohak Dave’, MD, Northeast Georgia Medical Center Emergency Department Medical Director.

• Lower the temperature settings on water heaters to 120° F (49° C) or less.
• When filling the bathtub, turn on cold water first. Mix in warmer water carefully.
• Check the water temperature by rapidly moving your hand through the water. If the water feels hot to an adult, it is too hot for a child.
• When placing a child in the tub face them away from faucets and as close to the other end of the tub as possible.

Scalds also occur in the kitchen and dining areas. Many of these can be prevented by:

• Always supervise children in the kitchen and dining areas.
• Keep pot handles turned inward; use oven mitts or pot holders.
• Keep clothing from coming into contact with flames or heating elements.
• Keep children away from everything that is hot.
• Follow instructions and cautions for heating items in a microwave oven.
• Not using deep fryers with children present.

It is still important to take precautions against fire, too, Martin pointed out.

“You need a smoke alarm on each level of your home and in every sleeping area and make sure each alarm actually works,” says Martin. “Test your smoke alarms once a month and replace the batteries twice a year or based on the manufacturer’s instructions.”

Link: Safe Kids Gainesville/Hall County
Link: Northeast Ga. Health System
Associated Categories: Local/State News

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Gainesville, GA 30501
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