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Milford, DE 19963

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Fax: 302-422-5944

Burn & Scald Prevention - Slaughter Beach

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Burn & Scald Prevention Information

What are the major types and causes of burns?

Scalds are caused by contact with "wet heat" such as hot liquids, bath water, steam, hot foods, drinks or cooking liquids.

Contact Burns are burns that occur when a child's skin touches hot metals (such as a stove, heating device or a curling iron) or flames (such as the fireplace).

Chemical Burns are burns which result from swallowing chemicals, like drain cleaner, or spilling chemicals, such as bleach, onto the skin.

Electrical Burns are burns caused by such actions as biting on electrical cords or sticking fingers or objects in electrical outlets.

Sunburns are inflammation (swelling) of the skin caused by too much exposure to the sun.

What is the most common type of burn for young children?

Scalds are the most common type of burn received by children under age five.

What causes scalds?

Scalds often happen in the kitchen or room where food is prepared. Contact with hot tap water in bathtubs or showers or with steam from microwave items causes scalds.

What type of injuries do burns cause?

Burns can range from mild to life-threatening.

Both burns and scalds are painful and can require years of treatment, cause scars, and even death.

Burns damage the skin which provides primary protection against infection. Because of this, infections from burns are a major cause of illness and death for children with burns.

Why are young children at risk for burns?

Children have thinner skin than adults so they burn more quickly.

Children do not have control over their surroundings. They do not understand the need to stay away from hot items and often cannot escape from an unsafe situation. For example, one and two-year olds can often reach the counter or stove and pull hot food onto them.

What is the most dangerous room for my child?

The kitchen is the most dangerous room for young children. It is best to keep children out of the kitchen when preparing meals. If your child must be in the kitchen, keep him/her in a quiet area where he/she can play safely under adult supervision (such as a playpen or safely strapped into a high chair). This area should be away from the traffic path between the stove and the sink. Teach your children to stay away from the stove. Put tape on the floor to create a three foot area around the stove so older children can easily see the "no-kid-zone".

Illustrated below is additional information and statistics regarding burns and scalds:

• A large percentage of all burn center admits for young children are for a scald injury.

• One-third of these scald injuries involved heated water, and half involved some other hot liquid such as coffee, tea, soup, grease, etc.

• The vast majority of children were burned while at home.

• On average, children suffering a severe scald injury were burned over 10% of their body and were hospitalized for 5 days.


Unintentional tap water scalds can be prevented by following these tips:

• Lower the temperature of the water heater to no more than 120° F.

• Always check the temperature of the water before placing a child in a bath.

• Do not leave a child unattended in the bathtub or sink.

• When giving children a bath, do not allow them to be supervised by anyone other than an adult.

• When soaking materials in a sink or a bathtub or when running bath water, shut or lock the door to keep children from contact with hot water.

Other scalds can be prevented by:

• Providing constant supervision for children.

• Caregivers not drinking hot beverages like coffee and tea, or eating hot foods while holding an infant or young child.

• Allowing food or drink to cool out of reach of young children.

• Keeping the kitchen off limits to children while food is being prepared.

• Placing pan and pot handles towards the back of the stove where little hands cannot reach them.

• Not allowing the cord to any household appliances to hang free and in the reach of children.

• Not holding a child while cooking food or preparing bottles.

• Finding a safe place for hot grease to cool.

If a scald occurs, actions that may lessen the severity of a burn include:

• Removing clothing to stop on-going heat injury.

• Slowly cooling the injury with tap water for 30 minutes. Cooling decreases the depth of burning and is the appropriate first aid for all thermal burns.

• Ice should NOT be used because of the risk of producing hypothermia. Ice may also shut down circulation to the damaged skin and increase the death of tissue.

• Butter and other types of salves should NOT be used on scald injuries.

Additional information may be obtained by viewing the following websites:


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