Many homeowners in Arizona don’t realize that the vast majority of fires and burn injuries each year occur right at home. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there were 354,400 residential fires in the U.S. in 2019, compared to only 110,900 nonresidential fires. It is wise to be cautious of burn injuries in your own home, especially if you are a parent with small children. Use these tips to prevent at-home burn injuries, as well as what to do if you or your child suffers a burn injury.
Teach Fire Safety
Knowledge is power when it comes to preventing at-home burn injuries. If you have kids at home, teach them fire safety from an early age. Some of the basics are to stay at least three feet away from anything that gets hot; never play with matches or lighters; don’t play in the kitchen while food is cooking; and use the stop, drop and roll technique if their clothes catch on fire. Never give your children fireworks or sparklers, as these put children at high risk of burn injuries.
Recognize Residential Fire and Burn Hazards
In most cases, burn injuries at home can be prevented if the victim is aware ahead of time of everyday items or tasks that pose burn injury risks. Some of the most common culprits in the average home are:
- Cooking equipment
- Outdoor grills and fire pits
- Indoor fireplaces
- Old, outdated or faulty electrical equipment
- Frayed electrical cords
- Space heaters and other heating equipment
- Hot steam
- Devices or objects that get hot
- Hot food, drinks and spills
- Clothes/fabrics that aren’t fire-resistant
Be especially careful to protect yourself and others by using proper safety gear around these burn injury risks. Recognizing common burn injury hazards that you most likely have right in your home can decrease the risk of getting injured by them.
Be Cautious While Cooking
National fire statistics show that 50.2 percent of residential fires are caused by cooking. This is significantly greater than the second-most common cause of house fires: heating, at 9.3 percent. Be especially cautious of burn injury risks in the kitchen. Your stovetop, heating elements, kitchen appliances, hot water, steam and many other risks in your kitchen could cause serious burn injuries to yourself and others. Make it a rule to keep children out of the kitchen while food is cooking. Keep appliance cords out of reach of children, as well, so that they do not pull hot items such as crockpots or coffee pots down off the counter.
What to Do if You Suffer a Burn Injury at Home
If you do suffer a burn injury at home, first determine if you can care for it yourself or if you need to go to a hospital. In general, if the burn injury involves a child, a vulnerable area (such as the face), blisters or other signs of a second-degree or third-degree burn injury, or is wider than four inches, the victim needs professional medical care. Otherwise, take the following steps to treat it at home:
- Run cool tap water (not cold) over the burn for 10 to 20 minutes. Do not use ice.
- Remove any clothing or jewelry at the burn site in case of swelling.
- Cover the burn loosely with a clean, dry cloth. Replace it as necessary.
- Take ibuprofen for any pain.
- Watch for signs of infection or complications and see a doctor right away if you notice anything wrong.
Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to file a lawsuit against one or more parties after a burn injury that you suffer at home. You do not have to be on someone else’s property to have grounds for a product liability lawsuit, for example. If a defective item gave you a burn injury at home, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Consult with a burn injury lawyer at The Law Offices of John Phebus for legal advice if you suffer a burn injury at home.