Simple Ways to Prevent a Child from Suffering a Burn Injury

By: Amelia Nahmias Email
By: Amelia Nahmias Email

HARRISONBURG -- This week is Burn Awareness Week.

Thousands of children each year suffer from burns in the home and most of those injuries are preventable.

As a warning, there are some graphic images in the video above. If you are bothered by the sight of burned skin, you may want not want to watch it.

Harrisonburg Fire Public Education Officer Wanda Willis has a few tips to keep a family safe from fires. She said families need to make sure their smoke alarms work and that every single family member has a plan in case of an emergency.

"Most of the kids will say, 'My mom and dad fan the smoke alarm when it beeps,' or, 'I don't do anything. I stay in bed because Mom and Dad take care of it.' We want them up and out of the house," said Willis.

There are simple ways to keep kids safe from other burns too. Some precautions include: adjusting bath water, supervising in the kitchen and keeping matches and lighters out of reach.

"We have those horror stories of the kids that played with the lighters and the matches and they're usually the victims of their own fires."

Accidents do happen and when they do, Dr. Asfa, a plastic surgeon, has some advice.

"Put it under cold water, and after that, cover it with a clean towel. It does not have to be wrapped. And for example, keep the extremity elevated because there will be some swelling, and seek medical attention as soon as possible," said Dr. Asfa.

Most burns do require medical attention. Dr. Asfa see's it all too often.

"This is the area that was not viable, and he had to go multiple times to the surgery to remove this non viable tissue. And this is after skin graft. The area is red, but he has new skin, and requires multiple sessions of physical therapy and occupational therapy to get the function back."

The need for those procedures can be avoided entirely by just asking one simple question.

"So it's things that we as parents and as adults need to sit back and think, 'Now is that really safe for our kids?'" said Willis.

Willis said when filling the bath tub start with cold water and then add the hot to bring it to a comfortable temperature. This avoids any scalding water in the tub.

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