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Burn Prevention And Care

Preventing children from getting burned is a matter of teaching them what to avoid and taking steps to make your home safer, reports CBS News Health Correspondent Dr. Emily Senay.

Last year alone, 20,000 children were burned by clothing or curling irons; 17,000 from ovens or grills and another 5,000 from cigarettes or lighters. It's bad enough when a child gets burned, but the tragedy is compounded when the accidents are preventable.

Here are some tips for parents to make their homes as safe as possible:

  • Don't use tablecloths -- kids can pull them and bring hot liquids down.
  • Keep toddlers in a highchair or playpen when cooking.
  • Keep bath water at 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the cold water first, then bring it up to a comfortable temperature with hot water.
  • Keep irons and appliance cords out of reach of small hands.
  • Teach kids about the dangers of playing with matches or lighters.
  • Don't smoke -- cigarettes can burn. They can also start fires.
If a child gets burned, a parent or caretaker should first determine what kind of burn it is.
  • If it's a contact burn -- from an open flame or a hot liquid -- call 911 immediately, but in the meantime, immerse the burned area in cold water.
  • If it's a chemical burn, flush it for at least 20 minutes and remove contaminated clothing. Avoid spreading the chemical to unaffected areas. If a substance has gotten into the child's eyes, flush them continuously with water until you can get medical help.
  • Electrical injuries require immediate medical attention. Pull the plug of the electrical cord out of the wall or turn off the current, but never touch the victim while he or she is in contact with electricity.

    Before emergency help arrives, check the child's breathing and stop any bleeding that may occur. Cover the burn area with a clean sheet or sterile pad and maintain the child's body temperature.

Reported By Dr. Emily Senay

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