Preventing Accidental Burns in Children
Know the dangers, supervise your children constantly and teach them as soon as they are able to understand. Accidental burns in children are a common, but avoidable, mishap in childhood.
As a parent you cannot always avoid your child coming in contact with hot water because there is hot water at every sink and bathtub in your house. For this reason parents should set their home water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or 49 degrees Celsius. That is still hot enough to get anything clean that you want to clean. Also you will always want to supervise a young child at the sink or tub, test their bath water before they get in, and teach them as early as you can which side means hot.
The kitchen is a particularly dangerous place for burns. First there is the stove and oven. Cook on the back burners of your stove whenever possible and consider getting a special guard that can be put on the front of your stove to obstruct reaching hands. Always turn the pot handles to the back of the stove. The dials for the stove and oven can be removed when not actually in use. Children should be discouraged from playing at the feet of anyone who is cooking or anywhere near a stove in use. This can be accomplished by putting a baby in a play yard, swing or high chair. Young children may be able to be kept away by safety gates or clear instructions and supervision by their parents. Avoid holding your baby or child while cooking. It only takes a moment for grease to sputter or a young hand to reach down. Extreme care should be taken in teaching your older children to cook. Be sure they know all the rules and are supervised for a long time before trusting them in the kitchen alone. Be sure they understand the inconsistencies of microwave oven heating. Microwaves can be just as dangerous as an ordinary stove in their way.
Other dangers from burns in the home can come from cups of hot liquids. If your child approaches a table where you have your cup of coffee or tea, move it to the center of the table. Spills from hot cups are yet another reason for not having tablecloths or runners on a table. Tablecloths and everything on them can be easily pulled on to the head of a baby or child on the floor. There are at least a hundred other reasons to quit smoking, and now here is another one: matches and disposable lighters should be kept away from children.
Sunburns can be very dangerous in children also. Children will burn much easier than adults with less exposure to the sun. Also because it can cover large areas of the body, serious sunburn can cause a child to go into shock and be a matter to require hospitalization. Always know the limits of sun exposure for your child and take extra precautions like sunscreen, hats and trying to stay in the shade. Even so-called minor sunburns in childhood will increase a person's likelihood of developing skin cancer as an adult.
These are just a few tips about some of the less obvious sources of burns. Of course, you will always supervise children around campfires, fireplaces and other open flames. Keeping our children safe is all about vigilance all the time. Teach them as soon as they can understand what the dangers are. Hopefully they will not have to become "the burned child that learns best."
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