Many severe burns happen at home — in the kitchen, garage, and even the bathroom. Fortunately, you can prevent burns and keep your family safe with a few common sense tips.
Check your smoke alarms regularly.
You should install several smoke detectors throughout your home. Be sure to test the batteries in your devices twice a year, and replace the batteries immediately if necessary. A good way to remember is when you reset your clocks for Daylight Savings Time, change your batteries.
Find a UPMC Urgent Care location or learn about the UPMC Mercy Burn Center, the region’s only location for comprehensive burn and trauma care under one roof and a leader in quality burn treatment for 50 years.
Take extreme caution around open flames or sparks.
Carefully control and monitor all indoor and outdoor fires, candle flames, fireworks, and other flame sources. Keep a close eye on children and pets near flames and sparks. Set up safety gates around a fire to prevent injury.
Test the temperature of your hot water.
Water that is too hot can scald or seriously burn people — especially the very young and older adults. Set your water heater to a maximum of 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and always test bath and hand-washing water before letting children touch it. You also can install scald-resistant faucets that automatically test the temperature of your water, cooling it when necessary.
Install safety caps on electrical outlets and keep electrical cords out of reach.
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Children may be tempted to stick objects into outlets, so install safety caps to prevent electrical shocks and burns. Chewing on cords can also cause electrocution, so protect kids and pets by keeping electrical cords out of their reach.
Maintain all electrical equipment in your home.
You can prevent electrical fires by using up-to-code fuses and wiring. Make a habit of using only grounded wires and cords. And never overload electrical outlets.
Store hazardous chemicals securely and out of reach of children and pets.
Harsh substances like bleach, lime products, oven and drain cleaners, and fertilizers can cause serious chemical burns. Store these items in leak-proof containers, and take steps to ensure children and animals don’t have access to such products.
Be cautious with machines powered by flammable liquids.
If you own a car, lawn mower, trimmer or other household tools powered by gasoline, you have the potential to be burned. Don’t overheat these machines, and avoid touching them near the engine after they’ve been in use. Exercise similar caution when using a propane or charcoal grill.
Never leave the stove or oven unattended while using.
Many household fires start in the kitchen when the stove or oven is left unattended while in use. Always keep a close eye on such appliances and remain in the room while cooking.
Protect kids from burns by teaching them proper cooking techniques.
Make sure everyone in your house knows not to touch the top of the stove. It can be particularly hard to tell if the surface is hot on a ceramic stove. Teach family members to turn pot and pan handles to the rear of the stove when cooking to avoid knocking them off the stovetop. Remind children and adults alike not to wear loose clothing near the stove when it’s on. Always use oven mitts when opening and removing items from the oven.
Turn off items that create heat immediately after use.
Electric stove burners, irons, curling irons, and other objects tend to stay hot for long periods of time. Turn them off immediately after using, and urge others to be cautious when touching them.
If you do sustain a heat, electrical, or chemical burn, seek medical attention immediately.
Emergencies can happen in the blink of an eye or in a heartbeat. And when they do, minutes matter. UPMC’s Emergency Medicine and Trauma Care services are ready to provide world-class care, no matter how serious your emergency. All our Emergency Departments have a full-time staff of emergency specialists at the ready 24 hours a day. We use advanced technology to diagnose and treat your condition and coordinate with your doctor to provide the best care possible. We also have specialized trauma care at several of our hospitals. If you or a loved one is experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or visit the nearest Emergency Department.