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Burn Injury Prevention: Home is a hot spot

As you do your part to flatten the curve and stay home if you can, it is important to remember that more than 73% of burns occur in the home. The Ascension Via Christi Regional Burn Center has seen an increase in burn injuries and would like to share with you ways to keep your family safe as you balance work and play within the home.

“We have seen a significant increase in burn injuries from scalds and bonfires,” says Sarah Fischer, RN, the Burn Program coordinator. “Prevention is key, especially when there are children in the home or for those vulnerable to injury."

In the event your house catches fire, get out and stay out. Call 9-1-1.

  • Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Change batteries if needed. 
  • Create and practice your family fire escape plan.

Now is the perfect time to catch up on some of your household projects. Remember to protect yourself from electrical injuries.

  • Be aware of overhead power lines. Place ladders and equipment in a safe area.
  • Use covers to keep fingers and other items from finding their way into an outlet.
  • Do not overload outlets or strips with too many cords.
  • Keep electrical cords - including phone chargers - away from water sources.
  • Turn off electricity prior to making repairs. Even low voltage can cause injury.

Scald burns are common among young children. Simple prevention can go a long way to protect little ones.

  • Have a “safe zone” for children while making meals. Keep children away from the stove or areas where hot food and drink are being prepared.
  • Keep drinks away from the edge of the countertop or table. Use travel mugs with a lid. 
  • Let food cool before removing it from the microwave. 
  • Set the hot water heater at 120° F. Always supervise children while bathing.

Remember, many household items remain hot after use. This also includes common outdoor items such as fire pits and grills.

  • Make sure all appliances are turned off after use. 
  • Have hot pads ready while cooking. Assume all cookware is hot. 
  • Keep hair appliances out of the reach of children.
  • Do not play near recently extinguished campfires. Coals can remain hot for days after use. Do not discard ash until certain they are no longer hot.

If a burn injury does occur, rinse the area for 5 minutes with cool water. DO NOT use ice. Keep the burn clean and protected from further injury and infection to promote healing. Minor burns can be treated at home with over-the-counter medications and ointments. If the burn injury is severe, seek medical treatment. 

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