Prevention of Burn Injuries

Burns are one of the common injuries that are often preventable. Although you can learn how to treat a burn injury, the best bet is to not get hurt at all. In the United States they affect more than one million people and are the result of approximately 40,000 children being hospitalized every year. According to research figures approximately 80 percent of children that suffer burn injuries, is an injury that could have been prevented.

  • First step: Recognizing the Hazards;
  • Medical Terminology – Degrees of Burns
  • Common Hazards

Identifying the Hazards

There are potential burn hazards in every home and the largest number of children suffering burn injuries occurs in the home. These are accidents that happen primarily in the kitchen and bathroom of the child’s home. Children can suffer burns from sunburn, household appliances and other causes. Scalding liquids, however the most common burn injuries in younger children. Burn accidents with children can be as simple as them pulling over a cup of coffee, or as disastrous as pulling on the handle of a pot of boiling water from the stove. Burn injuries can also occur when washing their hands under a faucet that is too hot.

Prevention of burn injuries starts with understanding how they can happen and the common causes, like:

  • The number one most common cause of burn injuries that involve children are caused by scalds. These are burns caused by steam, hot drinks, hot liquids, cooking liquids, steam and hot bath or facet water.
  • Burn injuries that are caused by contact with piping hot objects and devices like irons, curling irons, pans and other hot objects from a stove, a fireplace and flames.
  • Over exposure to the sun, resulting in severe sunburn.
  • Electrical burns that are caused by placing objects or fingers into electric outlets.
  • Chemical burns that are caused by contact with chemicals on the skin or swallowing chemicals.

Burn injuries are rated in degrees, first, second and third, which depend on the amount of damage that has been done to the skin.

  • First Degree Burn Injuries: First degree burn injuries are considered the mildest type of burn and are limited to the top layer of skin. This degree burn can result in redness to the skin, minor swelling and pain. The skin is dry in a first degree burn and does not have blisters present.
  • Second Degree Burn Injuries: Second degree burn injuries are a burn that is more serious and more than the top layer of skin is damaged. Layers beneath the top layer are injured in this type of burn injury, it produces blisters, redness and severe pain.
  • Third Degree Burn Injuries: The third degree burn injury is the most serious type of burn and one wherein all the layers of skin are damaged, as well as the tissue. The skin of a third degree burn can have a dry or waxy appearance; it can be white, brown, leathery or have a charred appearance. This is the one type of burn injury that might not have any initial pain, because of nerve damage that has occurred.

Common Everyday Hazards

Many burn injuries can be prevented, before they occur and the ways to prevent these types of injuries at home include:

  • When using hot water for baths, begin filling the tube with the cold water first and then turn on the hot. Turn the hot water off first and the cold water off last. This can decrease hot water burns.
  • When placing cooking pots on the stove, ensure the handles are turned in, so that they cannot be pulled off the stove.
  • Do not leave utensils in the pots and pans when cooking.
  • Check to ensure that all burners on the stove are turned off when not in use.
  • Use dry pot holders or oven mitts when handling hot pots, pans and ovenware.
  • Do not hang oven mitts or potholders near the stove or over it.
  • Use electrical outlet safety covers to protect children from outlets.
  • Use fireplace and wood burner screens, when they are in use.
  • Use careful handling of irons, curling irons and other hot appliances.
  • Use cool vaporizers.
  • Use cool humidifiers.


If you scalded or blemished by something extremely hot, after you go to the hospital, you may want a free legal consultation with a tort attorney at Ehline Law Firm PC. If so, call 213.596.9642, or 888.400.9721.