Norton Children’s Prevention & Wellness offers fire prevention and burn prevention information and resources to keep children and families safe. Since 1999, fires and burns have been the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 14 and younger, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
According to Safe Kids Worldwide, an average of 462 children ages 14 and younger have died from residential fires each year since 1999. In Kentucky, over half of child fire deaths occur in children under age 5, according to the Kentucky Child Fatality Review Program.
Fires can start suddenly. Planning ahead and having working smoke alarms in the home are the best defenses against fires. In most cases, when a child younger than age 5 dies from a residential fire, a fire alarm is not working or not present. These fire prevention tips can help children and families stay safe:
Burns are painful injuries that can be caused by hot liquids or steam (scalds), contact with warm objects, electricity or chemicals. Recovering from burns can be a very long and difficult process.
There are three burn levels, or primary degrees of burns:
Burns can be minor or major. Minor burns are first-degree burns anywhere on the body or small second-degree burns that are less that 2 to 3 inches wide. Major burns include third-degree burns, large second-degree burns and second-degree burns on the face, hands, feet, groin, buttocks or over a major joint.
A child’s skin is thinner than that of an adult, so a child’s skin can burn easily at lower temperatures. Scald burns are the most common type of burns among young children. In fact, it only takes 3 seconds of exposure to hot tap water at 140 degrees Fahrenheit for a young child to sustain a third-degree burn, according to the American Burn Association. Hot water in baths cause more than half of all scalds in children.
Older children tend to have thermal contact burns from touching hot objects, due to playing with fire, candles or fireworks. However, children also can get burned by electricity, chemicals, and hot liquids and foods spilled in the kitchen. Here are the best ways to protect children from burns.
Treat a burn by following these steps: