The holidays are a fun and exciting time of year full of gatherings and celebrations, but all the bustle of the season also comes with a higher chance of injuries. Burn injuries are one of the most common types of household accidents, and children are especially vulnerable to burn injuries around the holidays. Keep the following tips in mind this holiday season to prevent child burn injuries.
1. Use Good Practices with Electrical Appliances
Electrical items such as Christmas tree lights, electronic toys, entertainment centers, and other items that require electrical power can present burning risks in some conditions. Unplug electrical appliances and items when not in use. Make sure electrical outlets are clean and free of debris before use. Additionally, make sure the wires from things like Christmas trees, light fixtures, and decorations have no damage or fraying before use. Check the areas around electrical outlets for debris, cloth materials, and any other flammable substances.
2. Have a Fire Escape Plan
Make sure your children know what to do if there is a fire in the house. You should have multiple planned escape routes and a meeting place near the house in the event of a fire. You may even want to have “fire drills” at home similar to the ones your children conduct at school.
3. Keep Fire Safety Items on Hand
You should have at least one fire extinguisher in your home in a place you can easily reach if needed. It may not be wise to keep an extinguisher under the kitchen sink or somewhere near appliances that could catch fire, making it impossible to reach the extinguisher. Also check your smoke detectors regularly to ensure the batteries and alarms are functional.
4. Keep Hot Items Away from Children
A gathering for a holiday meal can mean lots of hot dishes and cooking appliances. If you have toddlers or small children in the home, make sure to designate child-free areas near stoves and other potentially hot appliances. It’s also wise to refrain from using tablecloths if small children are present in the home. A toddler or other small child may pull a tablecloth and cause hot items to fall, causing burn injuries. Make sure the handles of cooking pots and saucepans do not extend over the edge of the stove so children cannot grab them.
5. Store Flammable Items Safely
If you have lighters or matches in the home, make sure they are out of reach of children. In the event of a power outage, use flashlights instead of candles and keep them somewhere you can easily reach if necessary.
6. Prevent Scalding Injuries
You may want to turn your water heater down to a lower temperature in the winter. Lower the temperature to around 120 degrees Fahrenheit to help prevent scalding injuries in the tub. Before putting a child in the bath, be sure to check the temperature of the water.
7. Don’t Leave Electrical Items Unattended
If you are leaving your home for any length of time, unplug lighted decorations and other electrical items like Christmas trees and lights. A fire can spread extremely quickly under the right conditions, so limit the possibility of fire damage and burning injuries by unplugging these items before leaving.
Keep your children safe this holiday season by following these tips. If you have concerns about fire safety during the holidays, contact your local fire department for tips or a risk assessment.