National Burn Awareness Week: How Safe is Your Home?

by Terry Bryant

The first full week in February was observed as National Burn Awareness Week. We should all welcome the opportunity for fire and safety experts to emphasize burn awareness, prevention, and methods of treatment. Many of us have suffered a burn injury at some time in our life. And few of us realize how lucky we are to have escaped serious injury.

While many health awareness campaigns are something we primarily associate with children and parents, National Burn Awareness Week helps call attention to the fact that all adults are just as vulnerable to serious and even fatal burn injuries that many times are preventable.

Serious burn injuries produce more than just physical pain. The trauma of a catastrophic burn injury, with accompanying scarring, disfigurement, and long – often excruciating – recovery, takes emotional and psychological tolls on all victims: adults and children. They happen much more often than many of us know.

According to the American Burn Association:

  • Approximately 450,000 Americans are treated in hospital emergency rooms for burns annually. Another undetermined number of burn injuries are treated in private and community emergency health centers and by personal physicians.
  • Around 3,400 burn deaths occur every year. Of that number:
    • 2,550 occur in home or apartment fires
    • 300 happen in vehicle crashes
    • 550 others involve other scenarios and are due to multiple causes such as scalding, flames, smoke inhalation, or electricity.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Burns and fires are the third-leading cause of residential (home/apartment) deaths.
  • Scalding is the most common burn injury in children under 4 years old: approximately 200,000 each year.
  • Scalds from spilled food and drinks account for 50% of burn injuries, while the others are attributed to hot tap water, irons, stoves, and heaters.
  • 250,000 children per year under 17 are treated for burn injuries, 15,000 of them in hospital ER’s.
  • Over 1,000 children die each year in a fire from smoke inhalation and/or burn injuries.

Here is a very brief checklist of ways to prevent burns in the home. Search in Google for “burn safety checklist” to learn about more ways to keep your home safe from burn injury. You can also use “work” and “on the job” keywords to find checklists that help protect you from burn injuries in your workplace.

Here are some basic safety tips to prevent burn injuries.

  • Prevent chemical burns by wearing gloves and other protective clothing when you handle chemicals. Store all chemicals, including gasoline, out of the reach of children.
  • To prevent electrical burns to your kids, put covers on any electrical outlets within a child’s reach. Throw out electrical cords that are frayed or damaged.
  • Use space heaters carefully. Teach children to always stay away from them.
  • Store matches and lighters in a locked cabinet, away from children.
  • Test the water temperature before you or your children get into the tub or shower. Don’t let young children touch the faucet handles during a bath.
  • Set the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees F, or use the “low-medium” setting. Water that is hotter than this can scald exposed flesh in three seconds.

If you or a loved one is a severe burn injury victim, the legal team with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury can assist you if this injury is the result of negligence by a person or company. You could recover damages for medical costs, lost present and future income, pain and suffering, and more. Reach out to us at 1-800-444-5000 or 713-973-8888, or through our site.