Burn-related injuries are cause for concern

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

An alarming number of children are taken to hospitals for serious burn-related injuries every day.

These incidents usually occur within kids' own homes through contact with hot water, flames, hot surfaces, chemicals and electrical appliances. Because the recovery period for burns is often long and difficult, these injuries can be among the most painful for children to endure.

A recent study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital found that from 1990-2006, more than 2 million children were treated in hospital emergency departments for burn-related injuries.

Although this study showed a 31 percent decrease in the overall rate of burn-related injuries, it also shed light on the fact that 120,000 children are still being seriously injured from burns every year.

"The decrease in the burn-related injury rate over the study period is notable," said study author Lara McKenzie, Ph.D., principal investigator at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital. "However, the disproportionately high number of injuries and the severity of these burns in young children is still cause for concern."

Young children have thinner skin than older children and adults, so their skin burns more deeply and at lower temperatures. As parents, it's crucial to understand where the threats of possible burn injuries are around the house and take the necessary precautions to prevent them. Parents should set water heater thermostats to no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit, keep kids away from stoves, lock up chemicals and cover unused electrical outlets.

"Burn-related injuries are potentially preventable with better education, warnings and instructions on consumer products," said McKenzie. "Increased efforts are needed to improve burn prevention strategies and target households with young children."

It's also important to understand the reach that children have around the house. Items that seem out of reach for your children may not be.

Try sitting on the kitchen floor to get a child's point of view and make adjustments to the environment accordingly.

Tips

Burn prevention tips

  • Keep hot foods and drinks away from table edges and never carry your child while holding a hot item.
  • Keep children out of the kitchen, especially during food preparation.
  • Don't let young children use the microwave to prepare foods or drinks.
  • Lock up matches, lighters, gasoline and other flammable materials.
  • Cover electrical outlets when not in use.
  • Adjust your hot water heater to no more than 120 degrees F.

Burn injury facts

  • Boys are more likely than girls to suffer a burn-related injury.
  • Children younger than 6 years old and children with disabilities have the greatest risk of burn-related injury.
  • Scald burns are more common among young children. Older children are more likely to be injured by direct contact with fire.

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Each month, Pediatric HealthSource shares the latest treatment and research advancements from Nationwide Children's Hospital. This column is part of an ongoing community education project brought to you by: Discount Drug Mart.