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14 Ways to Protect Your Children From Burns at Home

Kristie Rivers, MD, FAAP, Board Certified Pediatrician
January 3, 2019 . 21 min read

1. Keep your children safe from burns

Your home is full of unassuming, even tempting, burn hazards for your child. The enticing glow of a candle or the aroma of a favorite dinner cooking on the stove can lead your children into danger, but by following these simple tips, you can help keep them safe from serious burns in your kitchen or any other part of your home.

2. Keep kids somewhere safe while cooking

Although it might be easier to keep track of an infant or toddler in your arms, avoid holding your children while you are cooking. Instead, secure your child in a safe area, such as a playpen or highchair, to avoid burns from spattering sauces or accidental contact with a hot object or heating element.

3. Use your stove\’s back burners

For those unexpected times when your children escape from a secure place or older children are on the loose, always cook on your stove’s back burners, when possible. Also, turn your pans so that their handles point toward the back of the stove to make them harder to reach and less likely to cause a serious accident.

4. The stove is not a toy

Make the stove area a no-play zone and secure it with a child-proof lock on the oven door, as well as knob covers to ensure that your burners remain off whenever you are not cooking. An accidental bump or an intentional game of pretend cooking can lead to serious burns.

5. Handle hot liquids with care

How many times have you or your children spilled a drink in the last month? Unfortunately, this common accident creates a potential burn hazard when cups or bowls are filled with hot liquids, like coffee, tea, or soup. To keep your little ones safe, don’t hold hot liquids while holding your children and set them near the center or back of a counter, so they aren’t easily spilled.

6. Keep fire extinguishers close

Be sure to keep an easily accessible and functioning fire extinguisher in your kitchen, so that you are prepared to respond quickly if you have a stovetop or electrical fire. A simple extinguisher can make the difference between a total tragedy and a small accident.

7. Rule of 12

Just 12 inches can put dangerous objects and burn hazards out of your child’s reach. Practice this rule by setting and storing appliances or electrical gadgets at least 12 inches back from the edge of a counter, table, or shelf.

8. Electricity and water don\’t mix

Everyone knows that water and electricity are a bad combination, though they are often in close quarters in your bathroom. Be sure to keep electrical items away from the bathtub or shower and in a secure location.

9. Set a temperature limit

You can also prevent scalding in your bathroom or any other part of your home by setting a limit on your water heater. A limit of 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below will keep your children’s baths from becoming a danger.

10. Check water temperatures for yourself

As an additional layer of protection during bath time, always assess the water temperature with your wrist or a thermometer before allowing your child to get in. Adding cold water until hot water is a more favorable temperature can keep your child’s sensitive skin safe.

11. Cover electrical outlets

Many of us are aware of the dangers of electrocution, but it can also cause painful electrical burns. Cover all electrical outlets with child-proof plug covers to keep children from inserting anything that may complete the circuit.

12. Install smoke detectors

In the event of a fire, you will want as much time as possible to get your family to safety. Ensure that there are working smoke detectors on every level of and throughout your home, making sure to test every detector’s batteries on a monthly basis.

13. Make your fire place safer

The warm glow of a fire, especially on a chilly night, can entice anyone to draw near. The bright colors and comforting warmth may keep your child from realizing the danger that a fire poses, so be sure to install a safety screen in front of your fireplace.

14. Blow out unattended candles

Similarly, the small flickering flame of a candle can ignite your child’s curiosity, but burns can be easily avoided. Never leave lit candles unattended or within reach of your children.

15. Teach that lighters and matches are not toys

Celebrations like the Fourth of July fun can create special memories for your family, but be sure that you teach your children that lighters, matches, and fireworks are not toys and should only be used by adults. You should also keep these items out of reach and secured somewhere where your children won’t accidentally find them.

Sources:

  • Burn Prevention Network. HomeSafeHome Checklist.
    Safe Kids Worldwide. Burns and Scalds.
    Shriners Hospital for Children. Burn Awareness.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Burns.

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