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Alabama Burn Injury Risks Highlighted During Burn Awareness Week

Feb 5, 2013 - Birmingham, Personal Injury by

A transit bus recently caught fire in Birmingham with three passengers on board, culminating in an explosion that rendered the vehicle totally destroyed. fireextinguisher

While our Birmingham burn injury lawyers have learned no one was hurt, it’s a fitting coincidence that the incident happened in the midst of National Burn Awareness Week, Feb. 3-9.

The fact is, this was a dramatic example of the burn risks that are all around us.

The American Burn Association (ABA) notes that the most common type of burn injuries are attributed to scalding, usually in the home or in assisted-living situations. The most vulnerable individuals are babies, young children, elderly adults and people with disabilities. When these vulnerable individuals sustain a scald injury, they are more likely to have to be hospitalized. They have a greater likelihood of complications, such as infection, and they tend to have a longer, tougher recovery.

Surprisingly, scalding caused by tap water (either in the sink or bathtub) tends to be more severe than those related to cooking. That’s likely because when we’re cooking, we’re already alert to the possibility of potential danger.

A scald is a burn that is caused by either steam or hot liquid. We often think of fire as being the primary burn risk, but we underestimate water’s potential.

Burns are rated in severity by degrees. A first-degree burn is one that damages the outer layer of the skin. A second-degree burn is more serious, damaging both the outer layer and the one directly underneath. A third-degree burn is one in which the deepest layer of skin and tissues sustain major damage.

These injuries typically lead to swelling, blistering and scarring. In some of the more serious situations, a person can suffer shock and even death.

The ABA reports that every single day in America, more than 350 children under the age of 19 suffer some type of major burn, often requiring hospitalization. Children and the elderly tend to have thinner skin, which means they are more susceptible to harm. What’s more, those under the age of 4 or adults suffering from dementia are less likely to perceive the potential dangers or react quickly enough to spare themselves.

The most common place for this is in bathrooms, kitchens and dining rooms.

The good news is that most burn injuries are 100 percent preventable, and it’s especially incumbent upon parents and caregivers to minimize the risk. The ABA recommends the following:

  • Keep your kids a minimum of three feet away from pots, pans, food or appliances that are hot.
  • Ditch the tablecloth, as it creates the potential for a child to pull hot food or liquids down onto themselves.
  • When you are cooking, keep the handles of your pots turned toward the back of the stove top.
  • Refrain from holding your child while you are cooking.
  • Before you serve your children, test the food to make sure it’s not too hot.
  • Check the bath water before you place your child in it.
  • Make sure appliance cords are safely tucked away and out of reach.

Additional Resources:

Burn Awareness Week, Feb. 3-9, 2013, Scald Injury Prevention Campaign, American Burn Association

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