TAMPA, Fla., Feb. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Each year in the United States, more than 40,000 children receive thermal or contact burn injuries from touching hot appliances or other common household objects. More than 20,000 children under the age of 15 are burned annually from grabbing or touching hot curling irons and clothing irons; nearly 17,000 receive thermal injuries from coming in contact with electric ranges, ovens, grills, and heaters; more than 5,000 are injured from contact with lit cigarettes and cigarette lighters; and more than 2,000 are injured from contact with extension and electrical cords and outlets. During Burn Awareness Week, February 7-13, 1999, the Shriners, members of the fraternal organization that operates Shriners Hospitals for Children, are asking parents and other caregivers to be aware of the dangers posed by such common household objects and take steps to keep their children safe. "The greatest tragedy is that these injuries are preventable," said John C. Nobles, the Shrine's Imperial Potentate and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Shriners Hospitals. "By following simple safety procedures and supervising children closely, parents can prevent these types of burns, which may require years of rehabilitation." There are simple, effective steps parents and other caregivers can take to protect their children from serious burn injuries. Shriners Hospitals and the Shriners offer the following tips: * Most curling irons reach the "one-second" contact burn temperature (167 degrees F) in less than five minutes; this temperature causes an instantaneous contact burn. Keep curling irons out of the reach of children, and keep children at a safe distance while using one. Set the curling iron on the back of the counter while heating or cooling, and use a safety holder if possible. Use similar precautions for clothing irons. Curious children may tug on cords that dangle from countertops or ironing boards, causing the appliance to fall. Never allow children to play with irons or curling irons. * Keep children away from electric ranges, ovens, grills, and heaters. Establish a "No Zone" in front of such appliances, and keep children out of the kitchen and away from grills while cooking. Use extreme caution when heating the home with heaters of any kind; use protective shielding or screens to reduce risks; and never leave children alone around heaters. * Keep matches, lighters and lit cigarettes out of the reach of children. Buy and use only child-resistant lighters. Teach children the dangers of playing with fire. * Extension and electrical cords are twice as likely to cause injury as outlets because young children will put them in their mouth. Throw away old, frayed and damaged cords. Don't allow cords to dangle from countertops where young children may tug on them and pull a hot appliance off. Use safety devices to cover electrical outlets. Because Shriners Hospitals treat pediatric patients, the Shrine's focus is on preventing burns among children. Young children face greater risks than adults and older children, and it is up to the adults in the home to follow safety precautions and keep young children from harm. Known as the experts in pediatric burn care, Shriners Hospitals operate four burn hospitals in Galveston, Cincinnati, Boston and Sacramento. Through intensive research and state-of-the-art clinical care, a burned child's chance of survival has more than doubled since the Shriners first opened the Galveston hospital in 1966. Much of today's research now focuses on improving the quality of life for burn survivors. The 22 Shriners Hospitals provide orthopaedic and burn care totally free of charge to children up to their 18th birthday. The hospitals were founded by the Shrine of North America, an international fraternity with approximately 575,000 members. The Shriners are offering a booklet on burn prevention free of charge. For your copy of "Burn Prevention Tips," write to the Public Relations Department, International Shrine Headquarters, P.O. Box 31356, Tampa, FL 33631-3356, or visit the Shrine's Web site at http://www.shrinershq.org.
SOURCE Shriners Hospitals for Children