Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
Burns, Prevention of
Follow these guidelines to protect your child from common
- Never drink anything hot (such as coffee, tea, or cocoa)
when you are holding a baby. The baby will reach for it,
spill it, and probably get burned.
- Try to use the back burners of a stove and keep panhandles
turned toward the back of the stove.
- After your child can walk, keep hot liquids and appliances
(such as a pan of boiling water, a coffee pot, a curling
iron, or an iron) away from the edge of a table, counter,
or stove. A burn from a crockpot usually causes scarring
because the contents are sticky and very hot.
- Lower your hot-water heater setting to 130 degrees F
(54 degrees C) or the "low medium" setting. Water heated
at higher settings can cause burns in 2 or 3 seconds. You
can test the temperature of your hot water by using a
candy or meat thermometer.
- Always test the temperature of bathwater before your child
gets into the tub. Supervise young children in the
bathtub. Don't let a young child touch the faucet
handles. He or she may turn on the hot water and be
- Use cool humidifiers, not hot steam vaporizers. A
vaporizer can cause severe burns if a child overturns it
or puts his face too close to it.
- Supervise children around fires, stoves, and heaters of
- Use flame-resistant sleepwear.
- Give up smoking, or at least carefully dispose of used
cigarettes. Cigarettes are the most common cause of fires
- Keep cigarette lighters away from children. Even a 2-
year-old child can ignite one by inverting it and pushing
it across the floor.
- Install smoke detectors in your home on every floor.
Check them monthly for proper functioning. More people
die from smoke inhalation than from burns. Smoke alarms
detect smoke long before your nose can.
- Teach your children not to hide if a fire occurs in the
house. Teach them to go outside. Rehearse and have a
- Before you place a child less than 1 year old in a car
seat, check the seat's temperature. Hot straps or
buckles can cause second-degree burns. Whenever you
park in direct sunlight, cover the car seat with a
towel or sheet.
- Avoid fireworks, or allow older children to use them only
with close adult supervision. In addition to burns,
fireworks (especially bottle rockets) cause 300 cases of
blindness per year.
Written by B.D. Schmitt, M.D., author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
Copyright 1999 Clinical Reference Systems