Thursday, February 21, 2008

Good to Know

Each year, over 83,000 children are rushed to the emergency room, seeking treatment for serious burns. In fact, children under the age of five are most vulnerable to burns for two reasons: first, they are unable to grasp the consequences of extreme heat; and second, their skin is actually thinner than adults, causing them to sustain burns quicker and at lower temperatures. The conditions of burns are categorized by first, second, and third degrees, with third, obviously, being the worst.

A first degree burn is described as a burn that turns the skin red or pink, with no blisters. When this occurs, run the burn under cool water for at least five minutes, and then apply a light, cool cloth to soothe the area.

A second degree burn is characterized by red, swollen skin and blistering. As with first degree burns, run the wound under water followed by a cool cloth and seek medical attention quickly. These burns penetrate deeper into the skin and can result in infections; therefore, see a doctor to have it cleaned and treated. Do not break the blisters.

A third degree burn will produce white, leathery skin, or even charred skin. If this occurs, call 911 immediately and DO NOT apply water or cold compresses. Remove burned clothing that comes off easily, but not clothing that seems attached to the burn. In some cases, CPR may need to be performed.

Tips for avoiding burns in the most likely place: the kitchen

1) Reduce your water temperature: Set it at 120 degrees or lower; this will help prevent serious burns if a child starts playing with a faucet.
2) Avoid hot spills: Keep pan handles turned in, don’t carry soup or hot beverages while carrying your child, and even avoid tablecloths that may be pulled by a toddler’s reach.
3) Safeguard the stove area: Install covers over knobs, a splash guard in front of the stovetop, and keep things away that may attract a child (a cookie jar, toys, etc).
4) Unplug irons: Curling irons, clothing irons….keep them out of reach, especially the chords.
5) Test temperatures: Taste everything first—microwaves vary.
6) Childproof outlets

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