Burn safety: Protect your child from burns
Promote burn safety by taking these important child safety measures.
By Mayo Clinic Staff
Burn safety is a foreign concept to most young explorers. In fact, one of the most difficult lessons young children might learn is that some things — such as stoves, radiators and flickering flames — can be painfully hot. If children play with matches or lighters, the threat can extend to the entire family.
Take burn safety precautions to prevent injuries and dangerous situations.
Burn safety at home
Many ordinary things in a home — including bath water, food and electrical outlets — can cause childhood burns. To prevent burns at home:
- Reduce water temperature. Set the thermostat on your hot water heater to below 120 F (48.9 C). Aim for bath water around 100 F (38 C). Check the temperature of bath water with your hand before putting your child in the bath.
- Avoid hot spills. Don't cook, drink or carry hot beverages or foods while holding a child. Keep hot foods and liquids away from table and counter edges. Don't use tablecloths or placemats, which young children can pull down. Turn the handles of your pots and pans toward the rear of the stove and use back burners when possible. Don't leave the stove unattended when you're cooking.
- Establish 'no' zones. Block access to the stove, fireplace, space heaters and radiators. Don't leave a child unattended in a room when these items are in use.
- Keep hot devices out of reach. Store items designed to get hot, such as clothes irons or curling irons, unplugged and out of reach.
- Test food temperature before feeding young children. Be careful with food or liquids warmed in a microwave, which might heat foods unevenly. Never warm a baby's bottle in the microwave.
- Choose a cool-mist humidifier or vaporizer. Cool-mist humidifiers prevent steam burns and hot-water spills.
- Address outlets and electrical cords. Cover unused electrical outlets with safety caps. Inserting a fork, key or other metal object into an outlet could result in an electrical burn. Keep electrical cords and wires out of the way so that children don't chew on them. Replace damaged, brittle or frayed electrical cords. Don't run cords under rugs or carpets.
- Choose fire-resistant fabrics. Check labels to make sure mattresses and pajamas meet federal flammability standards.
Burn safety outdoors
To protect children from outdoor hazards:
Feb. 25, 2017
- Watch grills and fire pits. Don't let children play near grills, fire pits or campfires.
- Check car seats. Before placing your child in a car seat, check for hot straps or buckles. If you park in direct sunlight, cover the car seat with a towel or blanket.
- Avoid backyard fireworks. Don't let children play with or near fireworks or sparklers.
See more In-depth
- Keep your family safe: Fire safety and burn prevention. American Academy of Pediatrics. http://patiented.solutions.aap.org/handout.aspx?resultClick=1&gbosid=156453. Accessed Dec. 5, 2016.
- Lloyd EC, et al. Outpatient burns: Prevention and care. American Family Physician 2012;85:25.
- Avoiding household burns. American College of Emergency Physicians. http://www.emergencycareforyou.org/YourHealth/InjuryPrevention/Default.aspx?id=25990. Accessed Dec. 5, 2016.
- Peck MD. Prevention of fire and burn injuries. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 5, 2016.
- Shelov SP, et al. Safety outside the home. In: Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5. 6th. New York, N.Y.: Bantam Books; 2014.
- Home safety checklist. U.S. Fire Administration. https://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/home_safety_checklist.pdf. Accessed Dec. 5, 2016.
- CPSC warns of hazards from furnaces, space heaters and fireplaces. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. https://www.cpsc.gov/newsroom/news-releases/2006/cpsc-warns-of-hazards-from-furnaces-space-heaters-and-fireplaces/. Accessed Dec. 5, 2016.