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Safe Kids

Preventing Childhood Burns

stoveBecause young children may not perceive danger as readily or may lack the ability to escape a life-threatening burn situation, make sure they are not exposed to open flames or other burn risks.

  • Keep matches, candles, gasoline, lighters, and all other flammable materials locked away and out of children's reach.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended. Place candles in safe locations, away from combustible materials and where children or pets cannot tip them over.
  • Keep children way from cooking and heating appliances (e.g., space heaters, irons, hair styling tools). Never leave the kitchen while you are cooking. If you must leave the room, take the child with you.

Children's skin burns at lower temperature and more deeply than that of older children and adults. A child exposed to 140-degree Fahrenheit liquid for three seconds will sustain a third-degree burn.

  • Set your water heater thermostat to 120-degrees Fahrenheit or below. Consider installing water faucets and shower heads containing anti-scald technology.
  • Use back burners and turn pot handles to the back of the stove when cooking.
  • Keep hot foods and liquids away from table and counter edges. Never carry or hold children and hot foods or liquids at the same time.
  • Keep appliance cords out of children's reach, especially if the appliances contain hot food or liquids.

Precautions to avoid fire in the home can also reduce a child's risk of burn injury.

  • Install smoke alarms in your home on every level and in every sleeping area. Test them once a month. Replace the batteries at least two times a year, such a when daylight savings time starts and ends. Ten-year lithium alarms do not require battery changes. Replace all alarms every 10 years. For the best protection against different types of fires, consider installing both ionization alarms (better at sensing flaming fires) and photoelectric alarms (better at sensing slow, smoky fires).
  • Avoid plugging several appliance cords into the same electrical socket. Replace old or frayed electrical wires and appliance cords, and keep all cords on top of rugs. Cover unused electrical outlets with safety devices. 
  • Place space heaters at least 3 feet from curtains, papers, furniture, and other flammable materials. Make sure heaters are stable, and use protective coverings.
  • Never smoke in bed. Extinguish all cigarettes before leaving home or going to bed.