Burn injuries are some of the most dangerous, painful, and life-altering types of injuries there are. And they all too prevalent, too. Nearly half a million Americans will require treatment for burn injuries in 2016, over 40,000 cases of which will require hospital admission, according to the American Burn Association. The vast majority of these burn injuries are preventable, though. Simply being aware of the burn injury risk factors and taking basic safety precautions can go a long way in averting burns.
What are some common burn injury risk factors?
According to the World Health Organization, some of the most common risk factors for burn injuries include the following:
- Working in an occupation with fire hazards
- Poverty and overcrowding
- Age: Children and older adults are most at risk.
- Alcohol and other substance abuse
- Improper adult supervision of children
- Medical conditions, such as epilepsy and cognitive disabilities
- Using kerosene as a fuel source
In what ways can people prevent burn injuries?
Burn injury prevention tactics depend upon the location and hazards involved. For instance, to prevent burn injuries in the home, you can make sure you have turned your pot handles away from the edges of the stove; avoid wearing loose fitting clothing; keep kids away from hot foods and appliances; avoid smoking in the house; set the hot water heater thermostat to 120 degrees or less; place floor heaters and candles away from walls, furniture, and curtains; have good working fire alarms; and keep a fire extinguisher on hand.
Here are a few basic tips for other settings:
- Work: Familiarize yourself with burn safety practices in your workplace and follow them. If you notice hazards that should be addressed, notify your employer or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
- School: Make sure your child knows basic burn safety rules, such as not playing with electrical cords, outlets, fire, etc. Check with the teacher or administrators to ensure that the school has a fire evaluation plan, an onsite nurse familiar with first aid treatment of burns, and enough personnel to provide proper child supervision at all times.
- Outdoors: Two of the biggest burn hazards outdoors are fires and the sun. Prevent burn injuries by using sunscreen, avoiding staying in the heat for long periods of time; avoiding using gasoline for outdoor cleaning or weed killing; avoiding leaving piles of brush or leaves near your home; and learning how to properly light and extinguish camp fires.
- Hospital: Patients can sustain various types of burns at the hospital, including those resulting from surgical fires, lasers, radiation, chemicals, and hot liquid. To avoid hospital acquired burns, know the risks of certain procedures before obtaining treatment, and speak to the administration, doctors, and nurses to ensure they have safety protocols in place to prevent burn injuries.
- Beauty Salon: Customers or stylists at a beauty salon can suffer thermal burns from hot styling instruments or chemical burns from hair treatments. To prevent burns, ask a stylist to test the treatment on a small portion of your hair away from your scalp and ensure that the curling iron is not too hot.
Where can I find more information on burn injury prevention?
To increase awareness about burn injury prevention and learn more tips, you might want to check out the ABA’s prevention helps, which include posters, fact sheets, and campaigns. If you would like to speak with a lawyer, call the lawyer referral specialists at Burn Victims Resource at 844-549-8774.