The most common burn-related ER visits are due to scalds from hot tap water, with 4,000 children a year suffering accidental burns either from the faucet or bathtub. 75% of all childhood burn accidents are preventable. According to a recent report, a new danger parents need to consider and teach their children about are burns from microwave heated foods.

A review of records from the University of Chicago Burn Center shows that hot foods or liquids from microwave ovens were the fourth leading cause of scald injuries in children under 5 years old. Parents need to teach their children that the microwave is as dangerous as the stove when it comes to getting burned. The most common mechanism of injury in microwave burns is when children–the report has the youngest at 18 months old–open the microwave on their own and reach in for the substance inside. Most injuries occurred when one parent is home alone and trying to cook dinner; the children end up finding their way to hazardous areas.

The best thing parents can do is:

  • Teach children about the hazards of the hot stove and microwave.
  • Turn down home thermostats to under 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Don’t drink or handle hot liquids of any kind when small children are around
  • Keep pot handles turned inward on the stove.
  • Avoid using tablecloths and placemats that your child could use to pull hot foods and liquids down on him or herself.
  • Always test the water with your wrist or elbow before you place a child in the bathtub. You can also use a bath thermometer.

Remember 3 out of every 4 child burn injuries are preventable. The first step is just knowing the prevalence of these accidents. In this way, you’ll stay alert. When you are cooking, put infants in high chairs or create a “safe” play area somewhere away from the hazards of the kitchen. Then, always keep your eyes open. Better to burn dinner than your child.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. Nick Campos - All Rights Reserved.