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Fire Safety and Burns--Identifying High-Risk Situations

Children are at increased risk for serious fire and burn injuries and death because they have thinner skin than adults, resulting in more serious burns at lower temperatures. Most burns and fire injuries and deaths occur in the home. By knowing the high-risk situations for fires and burns and taking steps to make your home safer, you can help protect your child from fire and burn injuries or death.

Age

Most common injury type

Risk factors

< 5 Years

Flame

Playing with matches, cigarette lighters, fires in fireplaces, barbecue pits, and trash fires.

.

Scald

Kitchen injury from tipping scalding liquids.

Bathtub scalds often associated with lack of supervision or child abuse. Greatest number of pediatric burn patients are infants and toddlers younger than 3 years of age burned by scalding liquids.

5 to 10 Years

Flame

Male children are at an increased risk often due to fire play and risk-taking behaviors.

.

Scald

Female children are at increased risk, with most burns occurring in the kitchen or bathroom.

Adolescent

Flame

Injury associated with male peer-group activities involving gasoline, or other flammable products.

.

Electrical

Occurs most often in male adolescents involved in dare-type behaviors, such as climbing utility poles or antennas. In rural areas, burns may be caused by moving irrigation pipes that touch an electrical source.

High-risk situations can include:

  • Failing to install and maintain working smoke alarms.

  • Leaving children unattended in the home, especially in the kitchen or bathroom.

  • Providing easy access to matches, gasoline, lighters, or other flammable products.

  • Failing to establish an escape plan.

  • Working with hot foods or liquids around toddlers and infants.

  • Failing to check the temperature of tap water and/or not lowering the water heater thermostat to 120° F (49° C) or below.

  • Allowing children to handle fireworks.

  • Exposing electrical outlets and cords.

  • Allowing children near kerosene lamps, space heaters, or outside grills.

  • Leaving supplemental heating equipment on while adults and children are asleep.

Reviewed Date: 03-28-2013

Seguridad contra Incendios y Quemaduras - Cómo Identificar Situaciones de Alto Riesgo
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10 Ways to Keep Your Family Safe
5 Home Safety Threats You Might Overlook
A Safety Checklist for Parents
Child Safety for All Ages
Essential Guidelines for Fireworks Safety
Have a Hazard-Free Halloween
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How to Prevent, Treat Choking on Toys
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Quizzes
Burns Quiz
Fire Prevention Quiz
Food Safety Quiz
Diseases & Conditions
Airway Obstruction Overview
Bicycle / In-Line Skating / Skateboarding Safety
Bicycle, In-Line Skating, Skateboarding Safety--Identifying High-Risk Situations
Bicycle, In-Line Skating, Skateboarding Safety--Injury Statistics and Incidence Rates
Bicycle, In-Line Skating, Skateboarding Safety--Prevention
Burns in Children
Burns Overview
Burns: Symptom Management
Classification and Treatment of Burns
Classification of Burns
Coping Emotionally
Emergency Treatment of a Burn Injury
Facts About Burn Injury
Fire Safety and Burns
Fire Safety and Burns Overview
Fire Safety and Burns--Injury Statistics and Incidence Rates
Fire Safety and Burns--Prevention
Firearm Safety and Adolescents
First-Degree Burns
Glossary - Burns
Heat or Thermal Burns
Home Page - Adolescent Medicine
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If Your Child Has Difficulty Adjusting
Nutrition and Burns
Online Resources - Burns
Pedestrian Safety
Preventing Burn Injuries
Preventing Scars and Contractures
Returning Home After a Burn Injury
Second-Degree Burns (Partial Thickness Burns)
Sports Safety for Teens
Thermal Injuries
Third-Degree Burns
Topic Index - Burns
Toy Safety
Water Safety and Teens
Water Safety for Children
Water Safety--Identifying High-Risk Situations
Water Safety--Injury Statistics and Incidence Rates
Water Safety--Prevention
When to Call Your Child's Doctor

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.