According to the American Burn Association, approximately every minute, a burn injury occurs in the United States that is serious enough to require treatment. Children under 16 make up a quarter of those admitted for burns. Sadly, most of these could have been prevented. In honor of Burn Awareness Week — the first full week of February — here are just a few of the many ways you can be more aware of fire and burn risks in your home:
Watch Your Water Temperature
When’s the last time you checked your home’s water heater temperature? To prevent scalding, you should be sure your water heater is set at 120 degrees. A temperature of 140 degrees will only take 5 seconds to scald a child.
The most common room in your home for a burn to occur is the kitchen. When compared to the general population, elders and children have the highest risk of burn injury. When cooking, remember:
- Avoid cooking with baggy sleeves.
- Keep pot handles towards the back of the stove.
- Never leave any food that is frying, grilling or broiling unattended.
- Always double check that all burners are turned off.
- Never cook when not fully alert.
- Never leave children unattended in the kitchen.
If a Kitchen Fire Does Occur
No matter how prepared you are, your food can quickly go up in flames. The first thing you’ll need to know is that you never want to use water. A kitchen or grease fire needs to be smothered. Water can cause the fire to spread and splatter, so avoid the urge to grab your kitchen hose.
If the fire occurs in a pot or pan, turn the burner off and cover the pot quickly and leave it until it’s fully cooled off. If it’s in the oven, shut the oven off and keep it closed until it’s reached a better temperature. If at any time it spreads, call 911 and leave the house until it’s thoroughly inspected.
If a scald does occur, immediately apply cool water for 3 to 5 minutes then cover with a dry, clean cloth. If the scald covers a large area of the body or looks concerning, be sure to seek medical treatment. A burn that is not painful to the touch could signal a deeper burn, so don’t let it go ignored — Dallas Regional Medical Center has a full-service ER anr trauma center which is always open.