Preventing Burns and Scalds - Health Discussion with Bronson Experts

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Published on February 13, 2015

Preventing Burns and Scalds

A great bonding activity between parents and their kids is spending time in the kitchen preparing baked goods and meals for family and friends. But whenever there is a hot stove or oven, there’s also the risk of injury from burns and scalds.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that every day, more than 300 children ages 0 to 19 are treated in emergency rooms for burn-related injuries. An estimated two children a day die as a result of being burned.

Bronson Methodist Hospital, home to Kalamazoo’s only Level I Trauma Center, burn center and children’s hospital, sees the results of burns that occur in the kitchen. Incidents that may cause a life-changing injury can take just a split second. When sharing the kitchen with children, it is important for adults to keep a close eye and teach children how to avoid the dangers of a stove or hot pan.

Safe Kids Kalamazoo County provides these simple tips:

Safety at the Stove

  • Don’t carry or hold a child while using the stove. Instead, move a high chair in the kitchen within reach or sight before you start.
  • Kids love to reach, so to prevent hot food or liquid spills, simply use the back burner of your stove and turn pot handles away from the edge. Keep hot foods away from the edge of your counters.

Guidance for Older Children

  • Teach older responsible kids how to cook safely. It will make your life easier if your kids can cook some of their own meals. Teach them never to leave the kitchen while they are using the stove or oven. Don't forget that the number one cause of home fires is unattended cooking. Instruct older kids to use oven mitts or potholders to remove items from the oven or stove and teach them how to use a microwave safely.

Microwaves Can Present Risks Too

  • Slowly open containers that have been in the microwave, as steam can burn little fingers and faces. Don't allow children to use a microwave by themselves until they are both tall enough to reach it safely and able to understand that steam can cause burns. Microwaves can heat unevenly and create hot spots, so avoid using them to heat baby formula or baby milk.

Check Your Water Heater

  • A small adjustment to the water heater can give you one less thing to worry about. To prevent accidental scalding, set your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or the manufacturer’s recommended setting.

This article is brought to you by Bronson Children’s Hospital, southwest Michigan’s only children’s hospital. For more information about children’s health, visit

4 easy ways to avoid burns when baking with the kids - just in time for the holidays! #safetyfirst

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