Child Health Matters: Ways To Prevent Burn Injury
The first documented burn injury was reported in the United States of America in 1609, which occurred to captain John Smith due to a secretive gunpowder explosion. He went to England for treatment and never came back to the United States again.
Burn injuries have a long-term physical, emotional, social, and economic impact, and in this day and age are mostly caused by a lack of kitchen safety measures, as opposed to other factors. Approximately 80% of instances are caused by spilling hot tea, other hot meals, or water. (HENRY. H, 2019). Burn is the fifth cause of morbidity and mortality in the world among children. More than 300 children report to emergencies each day with burn-related injuries around the globe, among two of these children die. (CDC, 2019).
Pakistan has some of the highest reported cases in the world: 1388 per 100,000 people per year. Every third household has an avoidable burn injury (Aslam, Niazi & Khan, 2017), mostly from families belonging to a poor socioeconomic strata..
Children are fragile and can easily be burned. Every day we encounter many clinical scenarios, such as a toddler we received at the emergency department who had been burnt severely. Her mother had been cleaning the dishes while her baby was playing around; suddenly she started wailing because she had spilled a whole pot of tea on her, resulting in a 65 percent burn according to the rule of nine, a frequently used burn categorization system. We provided first aid and referred to a burn center for further management.
We all want to see our children safe and secure and helping them live to their full potential. Applying different strategies to prevent burn injuries is a step toward this goal.
Burn is preventable and prevention is better than cure.
Burn cases are reduced among developed countries following safety guidelines, advanced fire safety tools, regulations, and public sensitization regarding the issue.
Fire safety rules are either not enforced or people are unaware of fire safety precautions in developing countries, particularly in Pakistan. Furthermore, due to overpopulation, lack of education, social and economic problems, it is difficult to reduce cases, which leads to increased health costs and years of life lost (YLL). Currently Shalimar hospital Lahore has launched a campaign, sensitizing the public regarding children’s burns.
The following are some kitchen-based strategies that may help to avoid and reduce the occurrence of burns in children.
• Avoid holding a child while dealing with hot food or liquid.
• Communicate to youngsters that hot things burn.
• Avoid drinking any hot fluids or food while you have a child in your lap.
• Kitchen safety guidelines must be posted on a visible site and must be followed strictly.
• Keep away stove from children’s access.
• Always use child-resistant lighters and avoid smoking.
• Keep the play area away from the kitchen and keep a close eye on children.
• Replace all broken electrical wires and plugs as soon as possible.
• Make sure to have an exit in each room especially the kitchen.
• Keep towels and other flammable material away from the stovetop.
• Turn pot handles towards the back of the stove.
• Unplug small appliances when not in use.
• Keep heaters at least three feet away from furniture or any other flammable materials.
• Avoid leaving the kitchen unattended while cooking and make sure that you have stored all the hot recipes in a safe place and have locked the cupboards.
• Place hot foods and liquids away from the corners of the table.
Abbas, A., Haider, W.A., & Shan, A. (2019). Pattern of Burn Injury at Mayo Hospital, Lahore. Asian journal of multidisciplinary studies.
Aslam, M., Niazi, M. Z., & Khan, I. (2017). Epidemiology of Paediatric burns at Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar. Pak J Surg, 33(1), 87-91.
Drago, D. A. (2005). Kitchen scalds and thermal burns in children five years and Younger. Pediatrics, 115(1), 10-16.
Grant, E. J. (2017). Burn Injuries: Prevention, Advocacy, and Legislation. Clinics in plastic Surgery, 44(3), 451-466.
For more research : https://www.cdc.gov/safechild/burns/index.html)