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Burn Awareness Week 2022: Burning Issues in the Kitchen!

February 6–12, 2022 is Burn Awareness Week and Shriners Children’s is urging families to be burn aware. Since the 1960s, Shriners Children’s has been a leader in burn care, research and education. This year the American Burn Association (ABA) is promoting the theme Burning Issues in the Kitchen! According to the ABA, cooking is the No. 1 cause of all home fires and the National Fire Prevention Association reported that U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 166,100 home fires annually. Education and awareness are key to reducing these numbers and keeping children safe.

“Many of the burn injuries we see each year are a result of accidents in and around the home,” said Robert Sheridan, M.D., medical director of the burn service at Shriners Children’s Boston. “Recognizing Burn Awareness Week each February is an important part of our mission to educate the public about burn injuries and reinforce the initiatives Shriners Children’s promotes throughout the year in hopes of preventing burn injuries before they happen.”

Keep your children injury free by remembering these important tips for safety in the kitchen:

  • Stand by your pan. Don't leave food, grease or oils cooking on the stove top unattended.
  • Create a 3-foot child-free zone around the stove. Keep pets away also.
  • Wear short or tight-fitting sleeves when cooking.
  • Keep pot handles turned inward to prevent spills.
  • Keep combustible items like pot holders, towels, and paper or plastic bags away from burners.
  • Always pour hot liquids away from your body when transferring from one vessel to another. Use the same technique when turning food in a pan, turn food away so any oil splatter moves opposite of your hands and body.
  • Be careful when heating liquids in the microwave oven. Since the containers may only feel warm, rather than hot, they are sometimes handled with less caution. This can easily result in the splashing or spilling of a scalding liquid.
  • Always use oven mitts to remove items from the microwave oven after cooking. Be careful when removing a wrapping or covering from a hot item. Hot steam escaping from the container, as the covering is lifted, can cause painful burns.
  • Don’t put metal in a microwave. Utensils, aluminum foil or twist-tie wraps can cause a fire.
  • Unplug appliances like toasters and coffee makers when not in use.

If a fire begins:

  • If your clothing catches fire, STOP, DROP & ROLL to put out the flames. Put burns in cool running water for 10–15 minutes. Call 9-1-1 for help.
  • Cover a pan or grease fire with a lid and turn off the heat. Baking soda also works.
  • For fires inside an oven or microwave, keep the door closed, turn off the appliance and call the fire department.

Burn Awareness Week is Shriners Children’s kickoff of a year-long educational campaign aimed at burn awareness and prevention that includes offering free educational materials, which you can find here: Be Burn Aware. The items are designed to be a resource for teachers, parents, firefighters and others concerned with the safety and well-being of children.

If your child experiences a serious burn and is in need of further care, consider seeking treatment at Shriners Children’s Boston where staff members have contributed to significant advancements in burn care for over fifty years. Learn more here.

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