The first week in February is Burn Awareness Week. The majority of burn-related accidents occur in the home and are considered preventable, making it all the more important to bring attention to potential dangers in our homes.

Every day, over 300 children ages 0-19 are treated in emergency rooms for burn-related injuries and two children die as a result. Younger children are more likely to be injured from scald burns caused by hot liquid or steam, while older kids are more likely to be injured from flame burns caused by direct contact with flames.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided these prevention tips to keep our families safe.

  • Be “alarmed.”
    Install and maintain smoke alarms in your home—on every floor and in/near all rooms family members sleep in. Test your smoke alarms once a month to make sure they are working properly. Use long life batteries when possible.
  • Have an escape plan.
    Create and practice a family fire escape plan, and involve kids in the planning. Make sure everyone knows at least two ways out of every room and identify a central meeting place outside.
  • Cook with care.
    Use safe cooking practices, such as never leaving food unattended on the stove. Also, supervise or restrict children’s use of stoves, ovens, and especially microwaves.
  • Check water heater temperature.
    Set your water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Infants and small children may not be able to get away from water that may be too hot, and maintaining a constant thermostat setting can help control the water temperature throughout your home—preventing it from getting too high. Test the water at the tap if possible.

Look for more information coming this week on preventing burn related injuries.

If a burn does occur, cool it with cool water for 3-5 minutes right away. Do not put ice, butter or lotion on the burn. Contact your doctor or call 911 if the burn looks bad.

The University of Vermont Medical Center Trauma and Burn Center can be reached at 802-847-3790. We offer excellence in trauma surgery, burn-related surgery and surgical critical care. As Vermont’s only Level I Trauma Center-and the first in the U.S. to be verified for both children and adults-you can be assured that you and your family have access to the most advanced trauma surgery and surgical critical care available in the event of a serious injury or accident. 

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