Burn Awareness Week

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February 1-7, 2016

Scald stat graphic

Burn Awareness Week, observed the first full week in February, is designed to provide an opportunity for burn, fire and life safety educators to unite in sharing a common burn awareness and prevention message in our communities. The American Burn Association’s (ABA) 2016 theme is scald injury prevention.

“Over 450,000 burn injuries requiring medical attention occur in the United States each year. That’s equal to one burn injury every 70 seconds,” says Philip Zaleski, Executive Director of the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance (IFSA). “Children and older adults are at a higher risk for burn injuries due to their cognitive and motor skills, dependence on others, and inability to easily escape danger. In particular, scald burns account for nearly 34 percent of all burn center admissions. Sixty-two percent of those scald burn admissions were for children five years old and younger.”

The American Burn Association’s (ABA) National Scald Injury Prevention Campaign website, www.FlashSplash.org, promotes the scald prevention message, “It can happen in a flash with a splash: Liquid and steam burn like fire.” Below are a few safety tips to prevent scald burns and injuries:

 •   Set water heater temperatures no higher than 120°F and test temperatures before bathing.

•    Do not leave children unattended in bathtubs or allow them to sit near faucet handles.

•    Test food cooked in a microwave before serving; open heated containers away from you, back to front.

•    Use travel mugs with tight-fitting lids for hot drinks; keep hot drinks away from edges of tables and counters.

•    Do not allow appliance cords (slow cookers, deep fryers, coffeemakers) to dangle over counters.

•    Create a “no kid zone” in the kitchen around stoves and ovens; place pots and pans on back burners with handles turned away from edges.

Although scald burns can happen to anyone, young children are the most likely to incur such injuries. Young children have thinner skin resulting in deeper burns than adults for the same temperature and exposure time to a scalding substance. The severity of a scald injury depends on the temperature to which the skin is exposed and how long it is exposed. Of additional concern is that the proportion of a child’s body that is exposed to any given amount of a scalding substance is also greater: the same cup of spilled coffee will burn a much larger percent of a small child’s body than an adult’s.

Over 135,000 children are seen in emergency rooms for burn-related injuries each year. An overwhelming 84% majority of scald burns occur in the home, compared to 73% for other types of burns. In children under 5 years of age, the in-home injury rate increases to 95%.

The Elk Grove Village Fire Department reminds residents to be mindful of the harm that hot household liquids can cause, especially to young children. For more information, contact the Public Education Division at (847) 734-8027.

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