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Fire Safety and Burns - Prevention

Preventing fires:

According to the National SAFEKIDS Campaign, 40 percent of residential fires that kill children are caused by children playing with flammable products, such as matches. In addition, a lack of working smoke alarms can significantly increase the chance of dying in a residential fire. However, by taking appropriate steps to make your home safe, you can protect your children and your family from fires:

The family escape plan:

In the event of a fire, it is important to get out of the house fast. However, small children can become frightened, disoriented, or react inappropriately when a fire occurs. By developing a family escape plan together, and practicing it repeatedly, your child will have a better chance of escaping a fire unhurt and alive. A good family escape plan should include the following:

How to escape a fire:

  1. Fast Exit
    The key to escaping a fire in the home safely is to get out fast. Smoke, gas, or fire can kill within one minute. Leave valuables behind. Avoid being locked into your house, keep a key in or near any locks at night.
  2. Exit Low
    Smoke and the heat from fire rise, so it is important to stay low. Crawl out of the house. Do not run or walk.
  3. Feel Doors
    Always feel the door before opening a door. A hot door indicates fire on the other side. If a door is hot, place sheets or clothing under the door to prevent deadly smoke from entering the room.
  4. Window Exits
    If the door exit is not an option, escape through a window (use the chain ladder if the window is upstairs). If the window is sealed, throw something heavy through the glass and protect yourself from the broken glass when exiting.
  5. Safe Meeting Place
    Meet at an agreed-upon meeting place outside, such as the mailbox, to make sure everyone is out of the house.
  6. Call For Help
    Go to a neighbor's house to call the fire department.

Special Note: Never go back inside a burning house for any reason!

Electrical safety:

Electric shocks from appliances and electrical outlets and cords can burn the skin and cause tissue and nerve damage. To avoid electrical shock, take the following precautions:

Preventing burns:

Burns are among the most painful and devastating injuries to a person. Severe burns can require long periods of treatment, including rehabilitation, skin grafts, and physical therapy. Scald burns are the most common types of burns among young children, while older children tend to sustain flame burns. However, children can also get burned through electricity and chemicals.

The skin of young children is thinner than adults, which means it burns deeper and at a lower temperature. Consider the following: it takes three seconds of exposure to hot tap water at 140° F to sustain a third-degree burn in a young child, according to data from the National SAFE KIDS Campaign. Third-degree burns require hospitalization and skin grafts. However, by taking appropriate, preventive steps, you can protect your children from burns:

A special note about sunburns:

Children can suffer burns when their unprotected skin is exposed to sunlight. In addition, excessive sunburns can lead to skin cancer later in life. In fact, most people receive 50 percent of their lifetime exposure to the sun by 18 years of age.

The following steps have been recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology and the Skin Cancer Foundation to help reduce the risk of sunburn and skin cancer:

Remember, sand and pavement reflect UV rays even under the umbrella. Snow is also a good reflector of UV rays. Reflective surfaces can reflect up to 85 percent of the damaging sun rays.

Consult with your child's physician before applying sunscreen to babies under 6 months old.

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