Preventing burns, fires this winter season

As the weather turns colder, the risk of fire and burns increases. Renee Zarr, the Injury Prevention Coordinator at the Children's Hospital of Michigan has some tips for keeping your family safe.

Burn: Prevention
Most burn cases are preventable. For scald burns, it is important that you know the approximate temperature of the water. Parents must maintain below 120 degrees temperature when using the heater. Test the heated water first before placing the infant in the bath tub.
Be sure to limit the access of hot liquids or any source of hot water available to children. Teach your children about the risks of acquiring heat or scald burns.
Be careful of accidental burns when rewarming the skin from frostnip or frostbite. Check on your kids regularly to make sure that mittens are dry and warm and noses aren't too red. The areas most prone to frostbite/frostnip are the head, face, ears, hands, and feet.

Winter Fire Prevention for the Home
Heating equipment is a leading cause in home fire deaths! Here are a few simple tips and precautions that can help you prevent most heating-related fires from happening.
Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, such as the furnace, fireplaces, wood stoves, or portable space heaters.
Have a three-foot "kid-free zone" around open fires and space heaters.
Install a protective screen on your fireplace to prevent burns to children and pets.
Never use your oven to heat your home.
Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
Test smoke alarms monthly.
Install and maintain CO alarms to avoid the risk of CO poisoning. If you smell gas in your gas heater, do not light the appliance. Leave the home and call the fire department immediately.

Fireplaces can get very hot. Gas fireplaces get hot quickly. Keep your child away from fireplaces. Always use a fire screen. Never leave your child alone near a fireplace.

GLASS FRONTED FIREPLACES pose an unrecognized and increasing source of serious burn injury, particularly to toddlers and young children.   The glass fronts of these fireplaces can quickly heat up to over 400 degrees Fahrenheit and they can take over 30 minutes to cool down to a safe temperature.
Space Heaters
Keep all space heaters at least 3 feet away from household combustibles such as curtains, newspapers, or blankets.
Use space heaters only as a supplementary source of heat. These devices are not intended to replace the home's heating system.
Place the heater on a flat, level surface away from areas where someone may bump into it.
Never leave a space heater unattended or running while you sleep.
Supervise children and pets while using space heaters.
Avoid using extension cords. If you must use an extension cord, make sure it is a heavy duty cord marked with a power rating at least as high as that on the label of the heater itself
Inspect the heater's cord periodically to look for frayed wire or damaged insulation.
Heaters should be placed on a flat, level surface. Do not place heaters on furniture since they may fall and become damaged or break parts in the heater. Keep electric heaters away from water. Never use them in a bathroom or near a sink.
If you have a liquid-fueled space heater, use only the fuel recommended by the manufacturer. The wrong fuel could burn hotter than the equipment was designed for and cause a serious fire.

Extension cords
Extension cords can get hot. Keep items that can catch fire away from them or a fire could start. Keep your child away from extension cords. Never run these cords inside walls, or under rugs or furniture.

Open flame
Open flames can be as hot as 1400°C and cause major burns in seconds. Keep candles away from your child and any items that could catch fire. Place candles in stable candle holders that are large enough to collect dripping wax.

Carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that can cause poisoning and even death. Install a carbon monoxide detector to protect your family. Natural gas appliances such as furnaces, water heaters, dryers and fireplaces need ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide buildup. Do not place objects that might restrict airflow on or near these appliances. If you have concerns, call your gas company.

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