They say a burnt child dreads the fire. A child’s learning curve involves sense of touch, sight, smell, hearing ability and taste things. Some experiences can be dangerous. Adults, as caregivers and supervisors or in whatever capacity and situation, need to practise important child-safety measures and promote burn safety awareness.
Fire safety is an unheard of concept for most of our young explorers. It is quite difficult and challenging to negotiate with a young child that there are limits to exploring with dangerous life-threatening elements like fire which can be present at home in the form of matches and lighters, stoves, radiators or bonfires and flames. The immediate result of touching or playing with fire is painful, burning and hot and the threats to the family are bigger – the house could be on fire, lives could be lost.
Burn safety precautions become even more critical if there are little children at home. Preventing injuries and dangerous situations is the key. Many ordinary things from bath water to food to electrical sockets can cause burns in children. Constant supervision is always not possible but still the following tips are a must:
- Reducing bathing-water temperature and testing the water before the child steps in to the tub. The ideal bath temperature should be around 100 F.
- Avoiding hot spills at all costs. One should not cook, drink or carry any hot beverage say tea, coffee or soup while holding a child.
- One should never leave cooking on a flame unattended.
- While cooking with a child around, one must keep the cooking flame at the lowest.
- Keep all sorts of mats, cloths and napkins which could trigger burning and accidents in the kitchen, out of the child’s reach.
- The stove and the fireplace should have no-entry zones for children – absolutely no access.
- Unplug any electrical appliances like clothes iron and keep it out of the reach of exploring kids.
- Maintain electrical outlets, sockets and electrical cords properly. Fix broken and damaged ones, brittle or frayed electrical cords so that electric shocks and burns can be avoided. Make sure unused plug points are sealed with safety caps lest kids insert pens, forks or any metal item into them which could be dangerous.
- Have hot water geysers and heaters installed in places out of reach of small children.
- Test food and drink temperature before serving to children to avoid burns and scalding of the tongue especially microwave heated food and drink.
- Never put baby crockery and utensils in the microwave.
- Have a cool-water humidifier or vaporiser for any emergency.
- If you have a hot-steam vaporiser, keep it out of the sight and reach of children.
- Have a pack of flour frozen in the fridge for first aid in case of burns and scalds.
- Have a medical emergency kit with first aid ointments and creams for burns ready.
- Have a domestic fire extinguisher handy at home or in the garage. You never know when you will need one.