Burns vary widely in scope – they are, at best, mild medical conditions, while at worst, they are life-threatening emergencies with permanently disabling consequences. Fire-related burn injuries are the most common in adults, however, chemicals and electricity also cause severe burns. In children, scalding is the most common cause of burn injuries. Luckily, you can take several steps at home to minimize your risks. Learn how to prevent burn injuries and keep your home safe for your family and friends.
Basic Home Maintenance
Performing maintenance around your home is an important step in preventing burn injuries. Take some time out of your schedule each month and check the following:
- Test the batteries in your smoke alarm and change them regularly.
- Check electrical cords and outlets for fraying and other signs of damage.
- Keep a fire extinguisher on each floor and replace or refill it after each use.
- Have someone inspect and clean your chimney and fireplace yearly.
- Have a professional electrician inspect the wiring in your home every 10 years.
In the event of a house fire, preparations can make the difference between sustaining a minor injury and making it out safely. Make a family fire escape plan and practice it a few times every year. Ask your children about it frequently, so they know it by heart. Designate a safe place for the family to meet in case of an emergency evacuation.
If you have bedrooms on the second floor, consider purchasing a fire ladder for each bedroom in case of emergency.
Tips for Parents
If you have children, you know how naturally inquisitive they are. While we admire this quality in children, paired with a fire hazard, the consequences can be disastrous. Take basic precautions to protect toddlers and preschoolers at home:
- Set your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees. Always check water with your hand before placing a baby or child in bathwater.
- Put safety covers on all electrical outlets.
- Never leave items cooking on the stove unattended. Turn all pot handles away from children, toward the back of the stove.
- Keep electrical cords bundled and never let children chew on them.
- Keep all hot liquids out of reach. Don’t use tablecloths, as a toddler can pull them down, spilling hot liquids.
- Consider blocking access to the kitchen with a baby gate.
- Avoid using your fireplace in the presence of young children
- Before putting your young child in a car seat, check all buckles and metal parts.
- Keep all chemicals, lighters, and matches out of reach.
- Never leave hair curlers or irons unattended. Unplug immediately after use.
- Put your children to bed in tight fitting pajamas or other materials deemed flame-retardant by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
During the Holidays
Holidays bring their own set of hazards. Heed some basic tips to get through them safely:
- During Halloween, ensure your child’s costume is flame-retardant.
- Consider using flameless candles in your jack o’ lanterns.
- Keep Christmas trees well watered.
- Check all tree lights before hanging.
- Unplug lights before leaving the home for any length of time.
- Never block exits with Christmas trees or décor.
In Case of Fire
Despite our best intentions, the worst can still happen. In the event of a house fire, follow your family’s agreed upon plan and call 911. While exiting your home, stay as low to the ground as possible, under the smoke. Crawl if you have to. If your clothes catch fire, “stop, drop, and roll.”
Burn prevention is possible with a proactive approach. Follow these precautions and keep your family safe during Fire Safety Prevention Month and the rest of the year.