So it's that time of the year again when you just want to snuggle up by the heater with a hot chocolate and read a good book. Solar hot water systems get switched over to the electric booster and the slow cooker gets a work out. Sound familiar?
While all these things can be lovely & help us to keep from getting the winter cranks, complacency around safety can lead to considerable misery - burns!
According to the Burns Registry of Australia and New Zealand (BRANZ), about 65% of burn injuries in Australia happen in the home, with a spike in numbers during winter. Here's a quick review of some of the most common causes of burns around the house as well as a reminder of what to do in the case of a burn.
- Heaters and fireplaces. Use fire guards to protect children and pets. Keep soft furnishings and clothing clear and be especially careful of flammable synthetics which can spontaneously combust if they get too hot.
- Ovens. Keep children away from ovens. Always face pot handles to the back of the oven and keep any hot pans out of reach.
- Tablecloths. Be careful of any hot foods and drinks that can be pulled off a raised surface.
- Hot drinks. Use lidded cups where possible and don't leave drinks within reach of children. Don't drink hot drinks over the top of children and infants (i.e. baby carriers) and be vigilant.
- Hot water. Set your hot water system to limit the temperature to 50 degree Celsius.
- Baths. Make sure bath water for children is no hotter than 38 degree Celsius and well mixed (check the temperature with your elbow not your hand).
- Hair straightening irons. Child-proof your bathroom so your little one can't pull these down by the cord.
- Electric blankets. Test yearly for faults by laying flat, switching on and checking for hot spots.
- Hot water bottles and warmers. Follow manufacturers instructions and never overheat. Use hot water in hot water bottles, not boiled water.
If you are faced with a burn, remember to stop, drop and roll to extinguish any flames. Clothing and jewellery needs to be removed as quickly as possible. If synthetic clothing is melted and fused, don't try to remove. Cooling the burn without delay is extremely important, as the heat will continue to spread through the body and cause more damage if it is not taken out. You need to cool the burned area for 20 minutes using cool, running water FOR 20 MINUTES to take the heat out of the tissue. You can cover the burn with loose cling film, or a wet sheet, towel or burn sheet to protect the injury.
A child or adult who suffers a serious burn must be treated by medical professionals as soon as possible. BurnsTrust Australia recommends seeking immediate medical advice if the burn is:
- larger than a 20 cent piece
- on the face, hands, groin or feet
- deep or becomes infected
- caused by chemicals or electricity
- or if there are signs of an inhalation injury, including blackening around the mouth or nostrils, or swelling of airways.