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In 2010, Someone died from a fire in the United States every 169 minutes. Countless others suffered burns in the home. Many of these injuries and deaths might have been prevented with a working smoke alarm or some simple home safety tips. With a little thought and preparation, you can protect yourself and the ones you love. Here's how.

Preventing Burns While Cooking

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and it’s not surprising that most accidental burns occur there. Fortunately, many of these burns can be prevented. Here are a few tips to help you make your kitchen a safer place. 

  • Stay in the kitchen while food is cooking.
  • Turn pot handles toward the back or center of the stove.
  • Keep items such as dish towels, plastic bags, and long sleeves away from the heating surface.
  • Never cook while holding a child or pet.
  • Keep small children and pets away from the front of the oven or stove.

First Aid for Kitchen Burns

If despite your best efforts, you or a family member suffers a burn in the kitchen, follow these first aid tips:

  • Run cool water over the burned area, soak it in cool water (not ice water), or cover it with a clean, cold, wet towel.
  • Cover the burn with a sterile bandage or a clean cloth.
  • Protect the burn from pressure and friction.
  • Use over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain.
  • Do not apply butter, ice, fluffy cotton dressing, adhesive bandages, cream, oil spray, or any household remedy to a burn.
  • If a burn appears to be severe or you develop signs of infection, call your doctor.

Preventing Scalding Burns

Of the many types of burns that can happen in your home, scalds may be the most unexpected. Thousands of people are injured each year by hot liquids and many of them are young children. Children have thinner skin than adults and are more likely to receive severe burns from hot liquid. Simple precautions can protect you and your family from scalding burns

  • Set your hot water heater to 120 degrees.
  • Always test bath water before placing a child in the tub.
  • Never leave a child unattended in the bathtub.
  • Turn pot handles toward the back or center of the stove so children cannot tip pots over.
  • Never warm baby bottles in the microwave; they may heat unevenly and can burn your baby’s mouth.
  • Use mugs or coffee cups with lids when you are around children.
  • Keep hot liquids like soup, coffee, or tea away from the edge of counters and tables.

First Aid for Scalding Burns

If you or a family member suffers a scalding burn, take the following steps to start healing:

  • Remove any clothing that is wet from the hot liquid.
  • Slowly cool the injury under running tap water for 30 minutes.
  • Do not apply ice, because it may stop important blood flow to the damaged skin.
  • Do not apply butter or salves to scald injuries.