Each year an estimated 9,000 children in Canada visit hospital emergency rooms for burn treatments, and almost half of these have suffered scalds from hot liquids. Babies and young children have thin, sensitive skin that burns easily and deeply. A child’s skin burns four times more quickly and deeply than an adults’ skin at the same temperature. Most parents don’t know that the most common cause of burn injuries to children is not from fire but from hot liquid scalds, such as spilled hot drinks and tap water.
Tips for preventing scalds and burns in the kitchen:
-Never leave your cooking unattended, even for a brief moment.
-Teach children that hot things burn.
-Place objects so they cannot be pulled down or knocked over.
-Turn pot handles away from the stove’s edge.
-Keep appliance cords coiled and away from counter edges.
-Keep hot foods and liquids away from table and counter edge.
-Use dry oven mitts or potholders. Hot cookware or tableware can heat moisture in a pot holder or hot pad, resulting in a scald burn.
-If you have young children in the home, cook on the stove’s back burners.
-When children are old enough, teach them to cook safely.
Tips for preventing hot tap water and scald burns:
-If children are in the home, do not leave the bathroom while the tub is filling.
-Before placing a child in the bath or getting into the tub yourself, test the water.
-Fill the tub or sink by running cool water first and then adding hot water. Turn the hot water off first. Mix the water thoroughly and check the temperature by moving your hand, wrist, and forearm through the water. The water should feel warm, not hot, to the touch.When bathing a young child, seat the child facing away from the faucets so the child cannot reach the faucet. Turn the faucet to the “COLD” position.
Tips for treating a burn:
Treat a burn right away by putting it in cool water. Cool the burn for 3 to 5 minutes. Cover with a clean, dry cloth. Do not apply creams, ointments, sprays, or other home remedies.
Remove all clothing, diapers, jewelry, and metal from the burned area. These can hide underlying burns and retain heat, thereby increasing skin damage.
Go to your local emergency room, call 9-1-1, or see your doctor if the burn is:
- on the face, hands, feet, major joints, or genital area and/or bigger than the injured person’s palm;
- white, tight, dry (leathery), or painless;
- caused by chemicals or electricity; or
- causing difficulty breathing.
See your doctor as soon as possible if the burn:
- does not heal in 2 to 3 days;
- becomes foul smelling;
- develops thick drainage, redness, or swelling;
- causes a fever; or
- results in a large blister, wet weepy wound and/ or severe pain.