Scald burn prevention and awareness
03-01-2009 (Dayton, OH) -
In 2007, the Regional Pediatric Trauma and Emergency Center at Dayton Children's admitted 142 children with burn related injuries; 43 percent of these children were treated for scalds from hot water or food.
Scald burns are most common type of burn-related injuries among young children, compared to contact burns, caused by direct contact with fire, which is more prevalent among older children.
"Children, especially those 4 and younger, do not perceive danger." says Cindy Asher, RN, clinical nurse specialist, at Dayton Children's. "They are very curious about their environment and explore by touching and tasting. Small children often lack the ability to escape a life-threatening situation."
Hot tap water accounts for nearly 1 in 4 of all scald burns among children and is associated with more hospitalizations and fatalities than any other hot liquid burn.
"Water scalds are extremely painful, but hot food can be even more devastating," states Asher. "We've treated children who have taken hot foods, such as noodles, out of a microwave and the bowl tipped onto them. Noodles tend to sit on the victim causing a deeper, more serious burn."
Dayton Children's offers these helpful tips to avoid burn injuries around the home:
In the Kitchen
- Keep hot foods and drinks away from the edge of tables and counters. Do not put them on a tablecloth that little hands can yank.
- If you're holding something hot, don't hold your child too.
- When you cook, keep your child away from the stove. Tell children that when you are cooking you are not to be bothered.
- Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove. If possible, use rear burners.
- Watch for dangling appliance cords.
- Prepare non-microwaveable snacks if children are not fully supervised.
- Test heated food and liquids before serving children.
In the Bathroom
- Test how "hot" your hot water is. Turn on the hot water at the tub faucet. Let it run for 3 to 5 minutes. Measure the temperature with a hot water gauge or mercury thermometer. (Liquid crystal bath thermometers are available for a few dollars.)
- For safe bathing, set the water heater's thermostat to low, warm, or 120 F. Wait a day. Test the water again. Repeat, if necessary. Your clothes and dishes will get clean at this setting!
- Install anti-scald devices in your shower and bathtub fixtures that stop the water flow when the temperature exceeds 120 F.
- Always check the water temperature before placing your child in the tub. A child's skin burns more easily than an adult's.
- Supervise kids in the tub. Young children can turn the hot water on by themselves. Older children can scald a younger child.
Some times it is difficult to avoid all burn related injuries; Dayton Children's offers first aid tips for when burn accidents happen:
First aid for burns from cooking, hot liquids or foods:
- Remove the hot, wet clothing—don't forget to check and remove an infant's diaper if it has absorbed hot liquids.
- Cool the burned area immediately with room-temperature tap water.
- Do not use ice or very cold water. Ice or very cold water will further damage burned skin.
- Cooling should only take a few minutes. Do not over-cool the area. Carefully touch the burned area. When the burned area is the temperature of the unburned skin, you have cooled enough.
- Gently dry the area and cover burn with a clean, dry bandage or towel.
- Do not use butter, first aid ointment or burn cream. These items tend to retain heat and cause more pain.
- Keep the burned victim warm while you transport them to hospital or wait for emergency services to arrive. Cover with a blanket. Burned skin loses body heat rapidly—even in warmer months.
"Never underestimate the seriousness of a burn. Get medical help by having the child seen by a physician at the hospital or in the office as soon as possible," says Asher. "If your physician thinks the burn is not too serious, he may show you how to clean and care for it at home using medicated ointments and dressings."
Three hundred children are taken to emergency rooms each day due to burn accidents. Through the Kohl's Cares for Kids campaign Dayton Children's and Kohl's Department stores have partnered to raise awareness about preventing scald burn injuries.
Since 1999, Kohl's Department stores have donated more than $871,600 to Dayton's Children's. Kohl's commitment to Dayton Children's is made possible through Kohl's Cares for Kids. Net profits from the sale of special merchandise supports children's health and education.
About Kohl's Department Stores:
Based in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, Kohl's is a family-focused, value-oriented specialty department store offering moderately priced, exclusive and national brand apparel, shoes, accessories, beauty and home products in an exciting shopping environment. Kohl's operates 957 stores in 47 states and will celebrate the opening of its 1,000th store in the fall. A company committed to the communities it serves, Kohl's has raised more than $102 million for children's initiatives nationwide through its Kohl's Cares for Kids philanthropic program. For a list of store locations and information, or for the added convenience of shopping online, visit www.kohls.com.
About Dayton Children's:
Dayton Children's is the region's only medical facility dedicated to caring for infants, children and teens. Consistently recognized as one of the country's top pediatric hospitals, Dayton Children's provides medical treatment, advice and information for children and families from 20 Ohio counties and eastern Indiana. By demonstrating compliance with The Joint Commission's national quality standards, Dayton Children's has earned The Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval. For more children's health and safety information, visit our website at www.childrensdayton.org.
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