Each year across the country over two million Americans sustain burn injuries. Of these victims, about 70,000 require hospital care. The American College of Emergency Physicians notes that many burns are entirely preventable and that a disproportionately large number of burns affect minors and young children. Florida residents can reduce the incidence of burns by:
*Watching for hot liquids. Many injuries to minors and children occur because hot liquids are left where children can spill the liquids on themselves. To prevent this, keep pot handles turned away from the front of the stove when cooking. Also, avoid leaving hot cups or bowls of liquid on tables or counter edges, where children may be able to reach them. In the same vein, avoid carrying hot liquids while holding your child or while near your child.
*Testing food temperatures. Before feeding your child, make sure that you test the temperature of the food. Be especially wary of food heated in the microwave – microwaves can heat food unevenly, so that it is hot inside and lukewarm outside.
*Replacing all lighters in the home with child-resistant lighters. It is important to note that even with child-resistant lighters, it is crucial to keep all matches and lighters in a locked cupboard or cabinet, where children cannot reach. Even though a product is labeled “child-resistant” that does not mean that a child will not be able to use the lighter with some practice.
*Setting your water heater set to between 120º and 125º F. Before placing your child in the bath, test the bath water. Hot water from your tap can scald and even seriously burn a small child.
*Watching out for electrical burns. Electrocution and burns can occur when electrical cords become worn, so always replace electrical cords that have seen a lot of wear and tear. Any unused electric outlets should also be covered with safety caps.
*Keeping aware of product recalls. Many electrical appliances are recalled each year because they are a fire hazard. Many product liability claims are also filed in courts each year over products that pose a danger in the home. To protect yourself and your family, buy appliances new (rather than purchasing used products) and submit your warranty or registration card right away. The manufacturer will contact you if the product you have bought has a defect. Also, keep alert to news of product recalls. Immediately stop using any product that may be recalled.
*Practicing basic fire safety. Buy fire extinguishers and place one on every floor of your house. Consider having more than one in the kitchen, and learn how to use the fire extinguishers. Install a working smoke detector on every floor of your home and add additional detectors outside each bedroom in your home. Once a year, check that the batteries in each detector are working. Practice fire drills with your family so that everyone knows what to do if a fire does occur.