How to Prevent Burn Injuries in the Home

stove and oven picture

The smell of cookies baking in the oven or tasty sauces simmering on the stovetop is hard to resist for adults and children alike. However, before you dip your finger into the pot to taste that delicious soup, know that scalds from cooking liquids, grease and food, as well as tap water and steam were responsible for 46 percent of all burns in 2012.

Scalds are the most common burn injury among young children, and one of the leading causes of accidental death in the home for children under age four. U.S. hospitals treat an estimated 110,000 people under 19 for scalds every year.

While thousands of scald burns occur annually, increased awareness of the dangers can prevent injuries. To help people be mindful of scald burns, the American Burn Association has declared the first week of February National Burn Awareness Week.

Following a few simple precautions will help keep you and your little chef safe from potential burns.

  1. Always supervise children in the kitchen and dining areas.
  2. Create a “No Child Zone” while preparing and serving hot foods and beverages.
  3. Don’t carry or hold a child while cooking on the stove. Instead, place the child into a high chair or other safe area.
  4. Children love to reach. So, to prevent hot food or liquid spills, use the back burner of your stove and turn pot handles away from its edge. Also, keep hot foods away from the edge of your counters.
  5. Keep clothing from coming into contact with flames or heating elements.
  6. A small adjustment to your water heater can give you one less thing to worry about. To prevent accidental scalding, set your water heater to 120 degrees or the manufacturer’s recommended setting.
  7. Make a habit of placing matches, gasoline and lighters in a safe place out of children’s reach. Avoid novelty lighters. They may look like toys to a child’s eyes.
  8. When filling the bathtub turn on cold water first, then mix in warmer water carefully.

National Burn Awareness Week is the perfect time to share this information, develop a home fire drill, check your smoke alarms and make your kitchen safe for your little chef in training.