Your home is full of exciting and tempting sights, sounds, and smells. A colorful fire in the fireplace, a flickering candle, or the smell of cookies in the oven can be hard for little hands to resist. Yet all of these are burn hazards. Even a pot of boiling water represents a potential burn hazard: hot water and steam are among the most common sources of household burns. Here are some tips to prevent burns at home, especially in your kitchen — your home’s highest area for potential hazards.
1. Don’t hold your child while you are near the stove. When you cook, keep your baby or child in a safe area, like a playpen or highchair.
2. Help keep the stove area off-limits by using a child-proof lock on the oven door, and use knob covers or a shield to prevent your child from accidentally turning on the burners.
3. Make a habit of using the back burners that are furthest away from the edge, and always keep pot and pan handles turned toward the back of the stove so grasping hands can’t reach them.
4. Be careful with hot coffee, tea, soup, or other hot liquids or dishes. Don’t hold them while you hold your child, and keep them away from counter edges where they can get knocked over easily.
5. Always keep a functioning fire extinguisher in the kitchen to be prepared for stovetop or electrical fires.
6. Practice the “Rule of 12” by keeping appliances and electric gadgets at least 12 inches from the counter edge so little hands can’t grab them.
7. Remember to keep electric items away from the tub or shower.
8. Set your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below. This will help prevent scalding.
9. Before bath time, always check the water temperature with your wrist or a thermometer. Your child’s young skin is very sensitive and can burn easily. If the water is too warm, add more cold water until it feels better.
10. To avoid electrical burns, cover all of your outlets with child-proof plug covers.
11. Be sure there is a working smoke detector on every floor of your house. Test the batteries in each detector every month.
12. Use a safety screen in front of your fireplace.
13. Never leave a burning candle unattended.
Teach your child never to play with lighters, matches, and fireworks, and make certain that all of these items are out of reach.
By following these simple tips, you can help keep your child safe from serious burns. Remember, safety begins at home.
Reviewed by Dr. Kristie Rivers, September 2020
- The kitchen has the highest potential for burns in your home.
- Be careful with hot coffee and other potentially scalding liquids around children.
- Use plug covers on all of your outlets to avoid electrical burns.