Ouch! Burns Come From More Than Just Fire

It's become a pretty common joke that if you're a parent of small kids then, chances are, you never get to drink a hot cup of coffee. That's not only because you're busy running after toddlers, it's also probably because you're trying to keep scalding coffee away from little hands.

Of course, hot coffee isn't the only thing we have to be vigilant about when it comes to kids who are too young to assess the danger themselves. Other common burn injuries young children experience come from scalding bath tubs or water faucets; other overly hot foods (like soup); contact with the stove or other kitchen appliances; curling irons and hair straighteners; and items that have been exposed to the sun (think metal trashcans or the metal parts of car seats).

So, what is a parent or caretaker to do about all of these risks? The good thing is just being aware that there are dangers is probably the best step you can take toward prevention. Here are a few additional things to consider:

  • Keep the baby in a highchair, playpen or swing while you are cooking over a stove, pouring hot liquids, etc.
  • Never serve food straight from the microwave, always test the food temperature first.
  • Check the temperature gauge on your water heater and set it so it can't reach scalding temperatures.
  • Unplug all appliances (like hair curlers etc.) when they are not in use.
  • Use spill-proof travel mugs for hot beverages.
  • When working with anything that could burn, avoid distraction as much as possible (always a challenge with little kids around!).
  • Teach children from a very early age that things that are hot can be dangerous (I often pretend to touch something hot and say "ouch! hot!"— which seems to make an impression when repeated several times).

Any other good suggestions we're missing? Write us at editor@virtus.org and let us know!

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