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news News Friday, January 31, 2020 Friday, January 31, 2020 9:38 AM - Friday, January 31, 2020 9:38 AM

Shriners Hospitals wants children and families to “Be Burn Aware”

Burn Awareness Week kicks off annual campaign

Shriners Hospitals wants children and families to “Be Burn Aware”

February 2-8, 2020 is Burn Awareness Week. During this time, Shriners Hospitals for Children will promote its annual burn awareness and prevention campaign. Since the 1960s, Shriners Hospitals for Children has been a leader in burn care, research and education, and burn injury prevention is a key component in these efforts.

This year’s effort will complement the theme Contact Burns – Hot Surfaces Damage Skin from the American Burn Association, which focuses on preventing children from receiving hot surface burn injuries. According to data from the Massachusetts Burn Injury Reporting System (M-BIRS), children under 5 account for one-quarter of all reported burn injuries in the state. In the past ten years, 45% of all contact burns were to children under 5. Touching heating and cooking equipment, other hot household items (like clothes irons), and walking barefoot on hot pavement are the leading causes of contact burns to young children.

“Many of the burn injuries we see each year occur as a result of accidents in and around the home,” said Robert L. Sheridan, M.D., interim chief of staff and chief of burn surgery at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston. “Recognizing Burn Awareness Week each February is an important part of our mission to educate the public about burn injuries and reinforce the initiatives Shriners Hospitals for Children promotes throughout the year in hopes of preventing burn injuries before they happen.”

Keep your children injury-free by remembering these important prevention tips, recently published by the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services:

Prevent contact burns

  • Indoors, supervise children around space heaters, woodstoves, fireplaces, radiators, and stoves and ovens in use. Keep them three feet away from things that can get hot by using baby gates, high chairs and playpens.
  • Outdoors, keep children three feet away from barbecue grills and campfires. Keep area clear of trip hazards so no one falls into the fire.
  • Turn heating pads, electric blankets and space heaters off before sleeping.
  • Have hot pads available whenever cooking. Long oven mitts are best when needing to reach in or over hot surfaces, such as inside an oven or over a grill. Assume all pots and pans are hot before touching.
  • Remember to treat items coming from the microwave as you would items from the oven. Make sure children are taller than the microwave and supervise them using it.
  • Protect your feet by wearing shoes when walking on hot pavement or sand and keep pets off hot pavement too.

Hot drink safety

  • Never hold or carry a child while you have a hot drink in your hand. A wiggling baby can cause a spill on herself or on you.
  • Consider using a “travel mug” with a tight-fitting lid to prevent or minimize spills.
  • Keep hot drinks and soups away from the edge of tables and counters. Putting them in the center of the table keeps them away from curious fingers.
  • Use placemats instead of tablecloths and turn pot handles inward to prevent children from pulling hot liquids onto themselves.

Tap water safety

  • Set your hot water heater to 125˚F or less. Massachusetts law requires a temperature between 110˚F and 130˚F.
  • Supervise young children in the bath and face them away from faucets. Babies and toddlers can turn on hot water when you turn your back.
  • Never leave a child in the tub alone for even an instant.
  • Use a thermometer to test the water coming out of your bath water tap.
  • Run your hand through bath water to test for hot spots.

Burn Awareness Week is Shriners Hospitals for Children’s kickoff of a year-long educational campaign aimed at burn awareness and prevention that includes offering free educational materials via the Be Burn Aware website. The items are designed to be a resource for firefighters, teachers, parents and others concerned with the safety and well-being of children. Shriners Hospitals has also created an animated video, Boots and Brewster: The Burn Awareness Pair, which kids are sure to enjoy. In the video, also available on the website, Boots and Brewster take viewers on a fun and educational adventure to help them become more burn-aware.