The first full week of February is Burn Awareness Week, and Dr. John Schulz, medical director of The Connecticut Burn Center at Bridgeport Hospital, has a few tips for staying safe. According Schulz, nearly 70 percent of all burns occur in the home. According to the American Burn Association, burns account for 450,000 injuries and 3,500 deaths annually in the United States. More than three-quarters of all burns are caused by exposure to flames or hot liquids.
Here are Schulz’s tips for staying safe at any time of year:
- Don’t let loose sleeves or clothing dangle over a stove or other open flame.
- Keep pan handles turned in so children can’t grab them and spill boiling liquid.
- Don’t place hot drinks within reach of a toddler.
- Keep electrical cords from coffee makers out of the reach of children.
- Don’t overload electrical outlets or power strips, as they can be an electrocution hazard.
- Never let your children play with matches—or even get near them.
- Never hold containers of hot liquids near a child.
- Don’t leave candles burning in an empty room.
- Never squirt lighter fluid on a flaming grill or any other flame.
- Don’t leave children alone in the bathtub, where they can be exposed to scalding water.
- Don’t smoke in bed; in fact, don’t smoke at all—not only is it a burn hazard, smoking contributes to heart disease, stroke, cancer and other illnesses.
- Install smoke detectors, test them, and change the batteries at least twice a year.