It’s Burn Awareness Week in Massachusetts

This week has been declared “Burn Awareness Week” by the Massachusetts state fire marshal. Serious burn injuries are far too common in the state, especially among children.

According to statistics from the Massachusetts Burn Injury Reporting System, scalds from cooking and other hot liquids were responsible for 41 percent of the burn injuries reported in 2010.

In effort to reduce burn accidents involving children in 2012, here are some safety tips from a local news affiliate:

  • Refrain from holding babies or toddlers while drinking hot coffee or tea. Sudden movements can cause the hot beverage to spill on the child, resulting in serious burns.
  • Make sure that hot drinks and soups are kept out of reach of small children. As we discussed in a previous post, some instant soups can get so hot that they pose serious burn risks to children and adults.
  • Consider using placemats instead of tablecloths. Small children can pull on tablecloths and spill any hot substances sitting on the table on top of them.
  • Make sure that children know to stay away from fireplaces, stoves and barbecue grills, even when no fire or cooking is taking place.
  • Make sure to keep pot handles pointed inward over the stove so small children can’t grab them.
  • Always supervise a young child in the bathtub. Make sure children are sitting away from the faucet so they cannot accidentally turn on the hot water. Hot water heaters should be set at a lower level if small children are in the home.

The state fire marshal recommends taking the following action in the case of burn accidents:

  1. Remove the victim from danger and call 9-1-1.
  2. Cool the burn area with cold water; never use grease, butter, ointments, lotions or fats.
  3. Gently take off any jewelry or watches from the injured area, before swelling sets in.
  4. Don’t remove any clothing that is sticking to the burn as it could cause further damage and/or infection.
  5. Place a clean sheet or towel over the burn, to protect from infection.

Source: 22 News, “‘Burn Awareness Week’ begins,” Kara Dominick, Feb. 6, 2012