Burns are terrible injuries that can be extremely painful and disfiguring. More often than not, these burns can be prevented. Situations and objects that we come in contact with everyday can be the cause of these dreadful wounds.
One of the most common causes of burns in the home is tap water that is too hot. Tap water that is 140 degrees will produce a burn in less than five seconds. Water heaters should be set no higher than 130 degrees and bathroom water should be no higher than 120 degrees. Before placing a child in a bath, it is extremely important to check the temperature of the water. Their skin is even more sensitive than that of an adult.
Another common cause of burns is cooking. These burns occur due to getting too close to the burner. When cooking, it is important to be sure to wear clothing with short sleeves. If long sleeves get too close to the burner, they can easily catch on fire. Reaching over the flame, whether wearing long or short sleeves, can cause a serious burn. This is why it is important to never do so or to never store any sort of treat over the stove that may tempt a child.
Grease fires can be extremely dangerous. When one occurs, it is best to slide the pan’s lid onto the pan and to turn off the heat. NEVER put water into the hot pan. Grease fires when in the oven, can be easily extinguished by closing the oven door and turning off the heat.
Burns to small children typically occur on the face. Being small, children tend to grab things that are too high for them to see and bring them closer. This can mean pulling a cup of hot liquid or even a pan full of hot grease. It is best to keep these objects out of reach and not use a tablecloth that could give the child something to grasp. Pan-handles, in general, should be kept turned in so that they will not accidentally be knocked over.
The best treatment for burns, unless they are severe, is to put the burn in cool water and leave it there for a few minutes. This will reduce the temperature and prevent the heat on the skin from burning the skin further. If the burn is severe, the victim should be kept warm and taken immediately to a hospital. If clothing catches on fire, STOP where you are, DROP to the ground and ROLL over and over until the flames are extinguished.
Hundreds of thousands of burn victims are treated by doctors or admitted to hospitals for agonizing, lengthy treatment each year. To help avoid this, we offer the following precautions:
Prevent Cooking oil Burns:
- All cooking oils will burn if overheated. DO NOT LEAVE HEATED OILS UNATTENDED!
- If the contents of a frying pan do ignite, turn off the heat and extinguish the fire by covering the pan immediately with a lid. Remain calm, and do not attempt to remove the burning pan of oil from the stove. Call 911.
- Used cooking oil should be cool before it is poured into any container for storage or disposal.
- Never pour hot oil back into its original container since it is not designated to withstand the high temperatures reached by oils during cooking.
- Keep pots and pan handles on the stove turned in to prevent accidental bumping.
- Keep children away from areas where hot liquids are present.
- Keep appliance cords unplugged and/or disconnected when not in use.
Prevent Hot Water Burns:
- The simplest way to prevent scald injuries in the bathroom is to carefully regulate the temperature of the hot water.
- The proper way to fill a bathtub or adjust the shower is to run the cold water first and then gradually add hot water until you reach the desired temperature.
- If possible, set your water heater thermostat to low, warm or 120 degrees (few people bathe at temperatures above 110 degrees F).
- A severe scald can happen in just the time it takes to answer the phone or doorbell. Although children often cannot distinguish between hot or cold water faucets, they are certainly able to turn a faucet on or off.
- Children should always be supervised while in the tub.
- If it is necessary to store gasoline, do so only in an approved metal safety can away from open flames (i.e., water heaters and pilot lights) and out of reach of children.
- Never remove an automobile radiator cap while it is hot. Allow it to cool first and protect your hands and arms when opening it. Never lean over a radiator when opening it, always keep your face away to prevent any liquid from spraying into your face or eyes.
If you have any questions please call Albany Fire Department Fire Prevention at 510-528-5775.