There are many common situations that can pose a burn risk for your baby or child. Here are some of those situations and what you can do to prevent burns.
Keep your child out of the kitchen or in a play pen when you're cooking. Never drink or carry hot liquids while holding a baby. Don't let your child remove hot food or liquids from a microwave oven. Use burners on the back of the stove and turn the handles of pots and pans toward the back. Make sure hot appliances and their cords are out of your child's reach.
Set the temperature on the hot water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or a warm setting. Make sure to check bath water temperatures with your wrist or elbow before bathing your child. It should be warm, not hot, to the touch. Also, don't leave your child alone in the bathtub. A child may turn on the faucet and if the water is hot, the child could be burned. If you have a one-handle faucet, keep it on a cold setting. Make sure that your child can't reach hot appliances often kept in the bathroom, such as curling irons and hair dryers. Also, consider using a padded faucet cover to prevent bumps and burns, especially if your child is active.
Be sure to have working smoke detectors on each level of the home and outside each sleeping area. Test your detectors monthly and replace batteries yearly. Also, have a plan of action in case of fire. Know and practice your escape plan and make sure there are two escape routes from each room.
If you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, put a gate around it so your toddler won't touch it or accidentally fall on it. Emphasize to the child that the stove is hot and he should stay away. Do not put space heaters in rooms where children play or sleep. If you must use space heaters, keep them more then three feet away from drapes, blankets, furniture or other flammable material. Keep your child away from fires and campfires and keep matches and lighters out of reach. Gasoline should only be used to fuel engines, not to start or maintain fires.
Avoid exposing your baby to the sun's direct rays. Your baby's skin is very tender and can easily be sunburned. Sunscreen is now considered safe-in small amounts on the face and hands-for babies under 6 months, but it's best to cover your baby with clothes and a hat. If your baby is over 6 months, sunscreen can be useful as long as you don't get it anywhere near your child's hands or eyes. Don't rely on it too heavily-clothing is still the best insurance against sunburns. Avoid products containing sunscreen and insect repellent.
If your child is burned, remove his clothing immediately and put the affected area under a cool water faucet or shower (do not use ice) for five minutes. This will cool the area, reducing the skin damage caused by the burn and will also reduce the pain. If your child has a burn or sunburn, you may use an appropriate child dosage of ibuprofen or acetaminophen to reduce pain. If there are blisters, do not break them. Topical sprays or creams are not recommended except for very mild burns, such as sunburn. Do not put butter on a burn. Blistered burns on the hand or face should always be checked by a health care provider.
To help remedy burns, keep the following items in your home first aid kit: calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream used to soothe insect bites, rashes and sunburn and a cold pack to reduce swelling from bumps, bites and minor burns (get the kind you squeeze to start the cooling reaction).
Burn Center at Regions Hospital at (651) 254-2373 or 1-800-922-BURN (2876)