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10 Tips For Preventing Children From Getting Burned, Scalded, or Electrocuted

Most burns, scaldings, and electrical shocks are preventable
by John M. Roberts

The prevention of burns, scalds, and electrical shocks should be a major concern for all parents. Each year thousands of people are killed or injured due to fire, hot water, electrical shocks, and other burn related accidents that, in many cases, can be prevented.

Children are especially vulnerable to burns and scald injuries. It is estimated that more than 100,000 children are seriously burned each year, so extra precautions should be taken to protect them.

As a parent, it is especially heart wrenching to see a child burned or scalded. There are precautions that are simple and easy to implement in your home that can make your children, and adults, less vulnerable to burns and scalds.

(1) Children free zones are important in every home. Mark off an area with a bright tape, red, yellow, or orange, measuring at least 3 feet from the stove and oven and make sure that all children in your home know why the line is there and why they should not cross it. This may seem extreme but if it prevents your child from getting burned, it is worth it.

(2) Never leave your baby, toddler, or young child alone in the kitchen. All children are curious and they want to explore, pull on things, and see what is in pots and pan.

(3) When cooking, turn the handles of pots and pans so they are facing the back of the stove. Don't place hot foods or liquids on the edge of a table or counter top.

(4) Never hold a child while you are cooking or carrying anything that is hot. You may burn yourself and drop the container, splash hot liquids on the child, or drop the child.

(5) Always test food or hot drinks before giving them to a child to make sure that they are not too hot and never microwave a baby's bottle. Milk or baby formula can get hotter inside the bottle than the temperature of the bottles themselves.

(6) Teach children that matches, lighters, candles, electrical cords and outlets, and outlets are not toys and should not be played with. Lock matches, lighters, and candles in a safe location and place covers over electrical outlets and plugs.

(7) Set the thermostat to the hot water heater to no more than 120 degrees and check the bath water in the tub, shower, or sink to make sure that it is not too hot. If you don't know how to set the thermostat, contact your gas company, apartment manager, or call a contractor to do it.

(8) Keep screens and security devices around fireplaces and any type of open flames and make sure that children and pets cannot touch or get near them.

(9) Never heat your home or apartment with charcoal. Not only does charcoal emit carbon monoxide and other harmful fumes, but barbecue pits can be pulled over by a child and start a fire on carpet, curtains, or table cloths.

(10) Smoking is one of the most common causes of fire related accidents that seriously burn or kill children. Never go to sleep with a lit cigarette even if it is in an ash tray. A child or pet can knock it over and start a fire.

A house fire can lead to a tragic chain of events that may severly injure or kill someone. It can take the life of a child or destoy an entire family in an instant. Smoke detectors, fire alarms, bar releases, and pre-planned escape routes are essential to a safe and sound home.

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