Burn injuries are one of the most devastating of all injuries. No one wants to be burned by a fire or get scalded from hot liquid or steam. These injuries are painful and may result in long term care, scarring and in some cases death.
Most burn injuries happen in a person’s home and the most common places are in the kitchen, dining room and bathrooms. Infants and young children are at the most risk because their skin is thinner than the average adult. People with disabilities and older adults are also more susceptible to burns.
Take a look at these pages for good information on preventing fires and scald burns. On our Resources page you will find links to other organization with more information about preventing burns and resources for those with burn injuries.
Prevent Scald Burns
You're Never Too Young to Suffer From A Burn Injury
The Regional Burn Center at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center cares for children with scald, flame and electrical burns. All of these burns can be prevented.
Scald burns are the number one cause of burn injury in children under four. Scald burns can be a life-threatening injury.
- Do not place hot water bottles with infants or children. These bottles have been known to burst causing severe scalds.
- Do not let children play with water controls on faucets. Always check water temperature before placing a child in a bath. Never leave a child in a bath unattended.
- Check your water heater temperature. Do not have it turned to "Hot" or above 125ºF.
- Do not let children play in the kitchen while cooking. Make the kitchen a "no play" zone. Use high chairs or playpens to keep small children safe.
- Use back burners when cooking. Always turn handles on pots towards the back of the stove.
- Do not place hot beverages or soups near edges of counters or tabletops. Toddlers can reach and climb faster and higher than you think.
- Avoid using tablecloths. They can be pulled causing hot foods to fall onto children.
- Do not hold children while eating hot foods.
- Ask restaurant servers not to serve food or beverages over or around children.
Thermal & Electrical Burn Prevention
- Do not hold children while ironing. Never leave a hot iron unattended.
- Never leave a child unattended near any fire including fireplaces, barbeques, campfires and candles. Keep children confined to an area away from these flame sources.
- Avoid use of portable space heaters.
- Use caution in older homes with floor heater vents. A toddler can easily walk across them.
- Keep matches, lighters and fireworks out of reach.
- Do not smoke while holding children. Set a safe and healthy example.
- Keep cords from irons, rice cookers/steamers, coffee pots, curling irons and other hot appliances from dangling within reach of children.
- Do not let children use microwave ovens or cooking ranges.
- Make sure unused outlets are plugged with approved outlet covers.
- Keep flammable liquids (gasoline, paints, alcohol, lighter fluid, etc.) locked away from children.
- Dress children in tight-fitting, flame-resistant pajamas.
- Teach children about fire safety including the meaning of "hot." Install and maintain smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
- Teach children how to "stop, drop and roll."
- Have home fire drills and practice escape routes.
- Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. Use sun block and reapply frequently.
- Keep shoes on children when walking in the sand. Fire coals at the beach, buried beneath the sand, can stay hot for many hours.
For more information please contact:
Prevent Home Fires
The Regional Burn Center at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center is one of only three burn centers in Northern California. Each year the Burn Center staff cares for hundreds of people injured by burns. Their expert and dedicated care saves lives. You can help by taking doing these 10 things and stop a fire in your home before it starts.
10 Ways to Prevent Home Fires
- Kitchen Safety – Never leave a cooking pot or pan alone. Keep your cooking areas clean and not cluttered. Don't cook when you're sleepy or drowsy.
- Space Heaters - Keep all space heaters at least three (3) feet away from anything that can burn.
- Smoking – Never smoke in bed or when you’re sleepy. Use large ashtrays that won't tip over. Soak butts and ashes before you dump them in a wastebasket.
- Matches and Lighters – Store matches and lighters locked up and high away from children.
- Electricity – Keep electrical cords out of walking areas and don’t risk breaking the wires by pinching them behind furniture or stretching them around corners.
- Candles – Keep candles away from anything that can burn. Put them out when you leave the room or go to sleep. Use a stable candle holder that cannot catch on fire.
- Appliances - Make sure protective water heater combustion chamber covers are in place. Pull the back service panel from the dryer cabinet and clean all the lint from the interior and around the drum. Clean built-up lint from the vent line. Replace vinyl vent lines with smooth-walled metal ducts. Mark a "combustible-free" zone 3 ft. away from your water heater with masking tape.
- Install Smoke Alarms and Fire Sprinklers - Put them on every floor of your home and near or inside all sleeping areas. Make sure everyone knows the sound of the alarm and what to do if the alarm or sprinkler goes off.
- Test the Alarm – Tests alarms once a month and replace batteries at least once a year, or sooner if the alarm 'chirp' tells you the battery is low. Replace any smoke alarm that is more than 10 years old.
- Plan Your Escape – Make a home fire escape plan and hold fire drills at least twice a year. Make sure everyone in your house knows what to do in a fire emergency.
The three major causes of fires in the home are cooking, heating equipment and careless smoking. Each year home fires cause thousands of deaths and injuries, and millions of dollars in property loss. Most of these home fires can be prevented. It's important to do everything you can to stop fires before they start.