Few personal injuries are as impactful and as painful as burns. It is a sad fact that children are a common victim of serious burn injuries. This week in February is National Burn Awareness Week and is a perfect time to turn our attention to protecting children from burns. By spreading awareness about the ever present risk of burns, safety advocates hope to reduce the instances of these terrible accidents.
There are several reasons why burns among children are so common and so devastating. Children, particularly young children, literally have thinner skin than adults. They suffer burns at lower temperatures and are therefore prone to being burned over a larger portion of their bodies if exposed to scalding liquids. In fact, the majority of all scalding injuries are suffered by children four years old or younger. In addition, young children do not recognize the danger hot liquids present. While adults will naturally take steps to avoid overturning a hot cup of coffee or a pot of boiling water, children can and will grab anything they can reach. A steaming cup is just another toy to a young child.
Vigilance is naturally the best defense against burn injuries. Kitchens and bathrooms are unsafe places for small children. They should not be left untended in any room where hot liquids are present and accessible. It is not safe to hold a child while preparing food or hot beverages. It is not safe to leave a child untended in or near the bath. Tablecloths, kitchen towels, power cords and other hanging items that can be used to drag hot contents off of a surface and onto a child below are common hazards that should be avoided. Basically, if there are any hot liquids in your home, you need to think of all the ways that children could possibly get to them and eliminate them to the best of your ability.
Burn injuries cause tremendous pain and often involve scarring and other long-term damage. They are among the most difficult injuries to experience, both physically and mentally. A child who suffers a severe burn may face a lifetime of challenges. Hopefully, an increase in awareness can prevent these all too common injuries.