Last year, almost three hundred children under 5 went to A&E in Lincolnshire for burns and scalds.
With National Burns Awareness Day taking place on 19th October 2016, Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue is teaming up with Lincolnshire Community Health Service (LCHS) to raise awareness of the dangers of burns, how to prevent them and how to give first aid.
According to LCHS, in 2015/16, 297 children went to hospital with scalds caused by hot drinks, electric cookers, hair straighteners, irons and radiators.
Mr Ciaran O’Boyle, Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Regional Burns Unit at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, explains, “Sadly, burn injuries are very common and can have long-term effects on families. Typically, burn scarring affects hands and limbs and can change a person’s appearance forever. People with burn scarring may need many operations and other treatments, throughout their lives. Nearly all burn injuries are preventable, in very simple ways.”
- Don’t hold a hot drink at the same time as holding a baby or child
- Put your hot drinks down where little hands can’t get to them
- Check the bath water temperature before putting the child in. Use your elbow – the water should feel neither hot nor cold
- Always add cold water to a bath first before topping up with hot to get the desired temperature
- Don’t heat milk in a microwave – it can heat unevenly resulting in ‘hot spots’ that can scald a baby’s mouth and throat. Instead place the bottle in a bowl of warm water then shake to ensure an even temperature throughout.
- Use a heat-proof pouch to store hair straighteners after use. Don’t leave them to cool down on the floor or hanging off furniture – children could easily touch or grab them whilst they’re still hot
Steve Screaton, Deputy Community Fire Safety Manager, said: “As a fire and rescue service, we sadly see first-hand the effects burns can have on toddlers and children.
“In addition to Sam’s tips, there are some simple ways to avoid burn incidents: Lighters, matches and candles should be kept out of children’s reach and, ideally, safely away out of sight. And if you are cooking or making a hot drink, please use the back hob rings and turn the handles away from the front so little hands can’t reach them. Also try to keep the kettle at the back of the kitchen counter where it can’t be reached. If you smoke, be sure that you put it right out and empty ash trays regularly.
“With the colder weather heading our way, please make sure you have a secure fire guard around a fire or heater and don’t dry washing near them in case they catch alight.”
If sadly, your little one does get burnt or scolded, NHS Choices has some top tips for dealing with a burn:
- Stop the burning process as soon as possible. This may mean removing the person from the area, dousing flames with water, or smothering flames with a blanket.
- Remove any clothing or jewellery near the burnt area of skin, including babies’ nappies. However, don’t try to remove anything that’s stuck to the burnt skin as this could cause more damage.
- Cool the burn with cool or lukewarm running water for 20 minutes, as soon as possible after the injury. Never use ice, iced water, or any creams or greasy substances such as butter.
- Keep yourself or the person warm. Use a blanket or layers of clothing, but avoid putting them on the injured area. Keeping warm will prevent hypothermia, where a person’s body temperature drops below 35C (95F). This is a risk if you are cooling a large burnt area, particularly in young children and elderly people.
- Cover the burn with cling film. Put the cling film in a layer over the burn, rather than wrapping it around a limb. A clean clear plastic bag can be used for burns on your hand.
- Sit upright as much as possible if the face or eyes are burnt. Avoid lying down for as long as possible as this will help to reduce swelling.