Burn Safety

Taking burn safety precautions in the home with children is important. There are many elements in the kitchen that can cause painful and scarring injuries, such as a stove, microwave, oven, toaster, electrical outlets and more.

At Children’s Network, we promote child safety and well-being by connecting our community to tips and resources to help you keep children safe in the home.

Did you Know?

  • Fire/Burn-related injuries are among the leading ten causes of unintentional injury in children ages zero to five, with children two and younger at greatest risk.
  • Every day, over 300 children ages zero to 19 are treated in emergency rooms for burn-related injuries and two children die as a result of being burned.
  • Younger children are more likely to sustain injuries from scald burns that are caused by hot liquids or steam, while older children are more likely to sustain injuries from flame burns that are caused by direct contact with fire.

Key Prevention Tips from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

  • “Be Alarmed.”
    Install and maintain smoke alarms in your home—on every floor and near all rooms family members sleep in. Test your smoke alarms once a month to make sure they are working properly. Use long-life batteries when possible.
  • Have an escape plan.
    Create and practice a family fire escape plan, and involve kids in the planning. Make sure everyone knows at least two ways out of every room and identify a central meeting place outside.
  • Cook with care.
    Use safe cooking practices, such as never leaving food unattended on the stove. Also, supervise or restrict children’s use of stoves, ovens, and especially microwaves.
  • Check water heater temperature.
    Set your water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees fahrenheit or lower. Infants and small children may not be able to get away from water that may be too hot, and maintaining a constant thermostat setting can help control the water temperature throughout your home—preventing it from getting too high. Test the water at the tap if possible.

How to Prevent Burns

How to Prevent Burns in the Kitchen

  1. Create a kid-free zone. Teach younger children to stay at least three feet away from your cooking space. If you need to watch babies while cooking, place them in a highchair outside of the kid-free zone where you can see them.
  2. Keep hot objects out of children’s reach. Cook on the back burners of the stove and turn pot handles away from the edge. Keep hot foods and liquids away from the edge of your counters and tables.
  3. Teach older children to cook safely. Make sure they know to never leave the kitchen while cooking and always use oven mitts or potholders to carry hot pots and pans.
  4. Avoid using microwaves to heat baby milk or formula. Microwaves can heat unevenly and create hot spots, so heat bottles by placing them in warm water. Check the temperature using inside of your wrist.

How to Prevent Scalds During Bath Time

  1. Set your water heater to a maximum temperature of 120 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Check bathwater temperature. Before placing your child in the bath, check the water temperature with the inside of your wrist just as you would with baby’s milk. The water should feel warm to the touch, not hot.
  3. Place your child in the bath facing away from the water faucet. This way they won’t be tempted to touch the hot faucet or turn on the hot water.

How to Prevent Burns from Gas Fireplaces (Hot Glass)

  1. Make sure your gas fireplace has a safety screen or safety gate. These barriers help keep children away from the hot glass on fireplaces. If you need a safety screen, contact the fireplace manufacturer or retailer for the best option for your home.
  2. Keep fireplace remote controls out of children’s reach and sight. Make sure children also stay away from on and off switches for gas fireplaces.
  3. Think about places outside of your home with fireplaces. When traveling to other homes, restaurants, hotels or resorts, there may not be a safety screen or safety gate installed. Keep children away from the fireplace and teach them not to touch the glass.
  4. If there is an emergency, call the doctor or 9-1-1 immediately. Physicians can give you information on how to treat a burn correctly.
An image showing how far a child should stay away from the stove to not get burned.

How to Prevent Burns in Other Areas of the Home

  1. Store matches and lighters out of reach. Teach kids it is not safe to play with matches, lighters or fireworks.
  2. Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn. Blow them out when you leave the room or before you go to sleep.
  3. Unplug and safely store irons, flatirons and other appliances. These appliances can become very hot and take a long time to cool down, so don’t leave these appliances unattended when in use. Make sure to turn off and unplug appliances when you are not using them.

How to Prevent Chemical Burns from Button Batteries

  1. Keep devices with button batteries out of children’s reach. When swallowed, a child’s saliva triggers an electrical current which can cause a severe chemical burn in their esophagus. Learn more about button battery safety.
  2. If a child swallows a button battery, go to the emergency room right away. Do not let them eat or drink and do not induce vomiting.