Children's Hospital Colorado

Burn Prevention and Home Safety

We collaborate with every specialty in the hospital to advance new surgical techniques, teach tomorrow’s surgeons and give our patients a brighter today.

The first step to avoiding burn injuries is thinking about ways to prevent them before they happen. Children's Hospital Colorado’s Children’s Health Advocacy Institute (CHAI) shares these tips for preventing burns in your home.

Parents can be the best form of burn prevention

Parents can help prevent burn injuries by establishing a safe home environment:

  • Set your water heater no higher than 120°F.
  • Make the kitchen a kid-free zone while you’re cooking.
  • Keep a close eye on glass fronted gas fireplace doors and place a safety barrier in front of the fireplace.
  • Keep all electrical cords out of reach of children.
  • Completely extinguish campfires and outdoor firepits with water when you’re done using them.

Hot liquid is the most common cause of childhood burns

These injuries occur from things such as:

  • Hot tea
  • Hot coffee
  • Soup
  • Cooking water
  • Hot water heaters not set to appropriate temperature

Tips for preventing scald burns

Kitchen Safety

  • Never allow electric cords to hang from a counter or tabletop.
  • Never leave young children unsupervised in the kitchen.
  • Keep children out of the kitchen while preparing meals.
  • Never leave hot beverages, soups or foods unattended or within reach of a toddler.

Bathroom Safety

  • Never leave curling iron or hair straightener cords hanging from a counter. Place them out of reach.
  • Never leave young children unsupervised in the bathroom.
  • Set your hot water heater to 120°F and test your water temperature with a thermometer.
  • Never leave the bathroom while there is a child in the tub.
  • Check the water temperature before bathing your child.

Burns from other household sources

  • Stoves and ovens
  • BBQ grills
  • Clothes irons
  • Gas fireplaces and wood burning stoves
  • Friction burns: treadmills, vacuums

Flame burns

Fire play is never safe — 75% of children who suffer a flame burn injury are injured while playing with fire. Teach your children from a young age that fire is dangerous and not a toy.

Tips for preventing flame burns

  • Make sure all rocks or any tripping hazards are removed around campfires.
  • Take extra precautions around fireplaces.
  • Keep all lighters and matches out of children’s reach.
  • Keep any flammable liquids like kerosene, gasoline and even rubbing alcohol, in a safe place.
  • Be aware of social media challenges that might include fire.

Burn first aid

It’s important to treat burns as soon as possible to minimize damage. Immediately after a burn occurs, follow these steps:

  • Remove all clothing and jewelry around the burn.
  • Stop the burning process by running cool water over the burn for several minutes.
  • Do not place any home remedies including butter, ointments or ice on burned areas.
  • Cover the burn with a clean bandage or cloth.
  • Consult with your family physician, local urgent care center or emergency department.