Burn Awareness Week kicks off the Sunday of the first full week of February.
The week’s goal is to raise awareness of burn hazards and help people learn to avoid getting burned.
Now you might think avoiding burns is common sense. But you might also be surprised at how many potential hazards you just don’t think about each day.
You’re not alone, either. Burn injuries rank as one of the top accidental causes of injury and death in the United States.
Remember, it’s not just about not sticking your hands in a flame.
The CDC’s definition of fire/burn/smoke inhalation injury is “Severe exposure to flames, heat, or chemicals that leads to tissue damage in the skin or places deeper in the body; injury from smoke inhalation to the upper airway, lower airway, or lungs.”
So it’s also about not accidentally scalding yourself with boiling water. Remembering that pan you just took out of the oven is still hot. Avoiding chemical burns. And so much more.
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Children are especially likely to suffer burn injuries. As much as parents try to protect them, they move quick and get into things in an instant:
Even young adults are more prone to burn injuries than the general population—by about 1.5 times between age 20 and 29.
No matter your age, you’re more likely to get burned at home. Almost 3/4 of burns happen there.
According to the National Safety Council’s Odds of Dying chart, the odds of dying from exposure to fire, flames, or smoke is 1 in 1,454. Of course, there are other sources of burns, too. For example, heat and hot substances (1in 69,169).
Learn more about burn injuries on the National Burn Awareness Week Fact Sheet (PDF).
Scroll down for some ideas on observing this safety-oriented week.
This is an important week for everyone, because anyone can suffer a burn. Accidents do happen. And even if you’re careful, someone else may not be.
Since most burns happen at home, start by learning more about preventing them. Then vow to look around your home to find ways to make it safer.
Some quick tips:
Learn more with this checklist for avoiding burns (PDF).
If you live with or care for older adults, this list offers more tips to help keep them safe. For example:
Homes with children should also take extra precautions, including these:
And never leave a child alone with a lit candle. Curiosity can get the better of even the most well-behaved child. (Trust me. I was that child!)
The CDC has links to more resources for fire prevention.
And, of course, sometimes accidents happen even when you’re careful. So learn how to treat a minor burn and when to get medical attention.
Work is the second most common place people suffer burns (although it’s a distant second). Employers can use this week to reinforce safety among their workers.
A few examples:
Will you be checking your home and/or workplace to improve safety? Do you have any tips or stories to share?