Whether it happens in the home or the workplace, a burn can be one of the most devastating and serious types of injury. According to the American Burn Association (ABA), there were over 486,000 burn injuries that required medical treatment in 2016 alone. Additionally, over 73% of all burn injuries between 2005 and 2014 took place inside the victim’s home – and most of these injuries were considered to be preventable.
To help raise awareness about the problem of burn injuries, the ABA has designated the first full week of February (February 2-8) as National Burn Awareness Week. In observance, our attorneys at Decof, Barry, Mega & Quinn, P.C. have gathered a few basic tips to help you prevent burns in the home.
Burn Prevention Basics: What You Need to Know
What Causes a Burn Injury?
When our skin tissues are exposed to extreme heat – whether from fires, hot surfaces, or chemical reactions – they can easily become damaged. Depending on the source of the burn and the duration of contact, your burn injuries may only take a few days to heal, or they may permanently destroy all the layers of your skin. Because of this broad variation, physicians categorize burns into “degrees.”
The four degrees of burn injuries are:
- First-degree: Burns that only affect the outer layer of skin, such as mild sunburns. May cause pain, redness, and blistering.
- Second-degree: Burns that affect both the outer layer and underlayer (called the dermis). Skin will appear bright red, shiny, and swollen, and you may experience scarring.
- Third-degree: Burns that destroy both layers of the skin and damage nerve endings in the dermis. The skin may appear black, brown, or white instead of red.
- Fourth-degree: Burns that destroy all layers of the skin, along with muscles and bones in some cases. Can be life-threatening.
There are also many possible causes for burn injuries, including:
- Fires and open flames
- Chemicals (such as strong acids or detergents)
- Extreme freezing temperatures
- Electrical burns
- Heated objects
Preventing Burns in the Home
From electrical outlets to home cleaning chemicals, there are dozens of burn hazards hiding inside our own homes. Children are naturally curious about these burn hazards, which is why over a third of all contact burn patients are under the age of five years old. To prevent a tragic accident, it’s important to stay vigilant against these hazards and make your home as “burn-proof” as possible. By instituting clear rules about hot or caustic substances, you can increase the odds that your family will avoid a more serious burn injury.
Here are a few simple ways you can help your family avoid burn injuries:
- Never leave a room without blowing out candles, and ensure that other household members do the same.
- Always wear gloves and proper protective clothing when you handle chemicals.
- Keep all household chemicals and matches in a safe place, and label them with hazard stickers.
- Keep young children away from the kitchen and enforce a strict age limit on stove use.
- Always check car seats and seat belts when putting children into hot cars.
- Make sure to always check water temperatures before allowing young children to use hot water sources.
- Place covers on your electrical outlets and discard any damaged or frayed electrical cords.
- Always unplug hot curling and clothes irons and make sure to place them out of a child’s reach.
As a civil trial firm that represents injured victims and workers throughout Rhode Island, the lawyers at Decof, Barry, Mega & Quinn, P.C. know the devastating repercussions of serious burn injuries and understand there are situations that can be prevented.
If you or a loved one suffered burn injuries due to another’s negligence, contact Decof, Barry, Mega & Quinn, P.C. (401) 200-4059 for a free consultation.