Burn Prevention Tips

Flame Burns

Flame burn injuries are caused most often by careless cigarette smoking, ignition of flammable liquids, and children playing with matches or lighters.

Prevention Tips

  • Gasoline and other flammable liquids should be stored in an approved container that is clearly marked as to the contents. Never store or use in a room that contains a pilot light or ignition source.
  • Never use gasoline (or other flammable liquids) to ‘prime' carburetors or to start a trash or brush fire, campfire, or grill.
  • Children should be taught at an early age that matches and lighters are tools and not toys.
  • Matches and lighters should always be kept out of the reach of children.
  • Never leave candles unattended.
  • Use extreme caution when cooking. Avoid wearing loose clothing that could catch on fire.
  • Never leave small children unattended next to a heat source.
  • Install smoke detectors on each level of the house and outside sleeping areas, check the batteries once a month, and change them once a year.
  • Practice EDITH - Exit Drills in the Home, so that everyone will know the meeting place and how to escape in case of a fire.

Scald Burns

Scald burns occur from contact with hot food or liquid, including steam and hot semi- liquids, such as tar.

Prevention Tips

  • Reducing the hot water heater temperature to its lowest setting is one step that could be taking to reduce scald injuries in the shower, bathtub, and sink.
  • Anti-scald devices, which automatically restrict the flow of water when a pre-set water temperature is reached, can also be placed in shower heads and faucets.
  • There must be constant, adequate supervision for small children and for persons with physical and/or mental impairments around water.
  • The microwave oven can place people at potential scald risk. Use caution when removing warmed foods, especially liquid.
  • Use caution when removing a lid from a container heated in the microwave to avoid a steam scald burn.
  • Appliances that contain hot liquid (crock pots, coffee pots) should be pushed far back on a counter, and avoid having the cord drape down in front where it could be pulled.

Contact Burns

Contact burns can result from contact with any hot surface such as an iron, curling iron, heat source, etc. Frequently, they are small burns but they may extend deep into the skin.

Prevention Tips

  • Very young children or individuals without the ability to withdraw from heated objects, and those without sensation in their extremities, are at the greatest risk for contact burn injuries.
  • Make sure that heating pads and blankets are in good working order and always turned off when not in use.

Chemical Burns

Chemical burns can occur when the skin comes in contact with acids, alkalis, and organic compounds.

Prevention Tips

  • Chemicals used in the home should be kept locked away and inaccessible to children.
  • All chemicals should be stored in their original container to prevent confusion as to the contents. If an injury does occur, the original container will provide the appropriate first aid information for that chemical.
  • When finished with a chemical, always recap and discard the container appropriately.

Electrical Burns

Electrical burns are caused by the heat generated by an electric current as it passes through the tissues of the body. Injury can result from contact with common household current, high-voltage current or lightning. Electrical injuries account for approximately 4-7% of annual burn center admissions.

Prevention Tips

  • Household wiring and appliance cords should be checked for any nicks or frays in the wiring.
    Never place a cord under a carpet. Repeated wear and tear on the cord could cause it to breakdown.
  • Do not overload electrical outlets.
  • Never place an electrical appliance next to a water source.
  • If small children are around, electrical outlets should be covered with a prevention device or have heavy furniture moved in front of them.
  • Use extreme caution when trimming trees near overhead power lines.
  • Teach young children not to climb trees near overhead lines, to avoid flying kites near power lines, and not to go near a downed power line.