Burn Prevention: Teenage and Adult :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

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Burn Prevention: Teenage and Adult

Burns can be serious injuries at any age. Teenagers and adults are at risk for many different kinds of serious burn injuries. The following information shows the common causes of burns in teens and adults and the steps that can be taken to prevent the most common types of burns.

Cause of Burns

Scald from tap water

How to Prevent Burns

  • Set the hot water tank temperature at 120 F.
  • Turn the cold water on first, then the hot water.

Kitchen/cooking accidents

  • Prevent playing in cooking areas. If you have to play in the kitchen, create a safe place away from the stove for playing.
  • Keep handles of pots and pans turned toward the back of the stove. Cook on the back burners whenever you can.
  • Keep appliance cords from dangling over the counter edge.
  • Do not wear loose shirts or nightgowns while cooking.
  • Smother a pan grease fire with the lid.  (Do not put the fire out with water). Do not try to carry a burning pan from the house.
  • Clean up spilled grease right away.
  • Check dishes for heat before removing them from a microwave.
  • Be very careful taking hot dishes out of a microwave that is above your head. 
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and teach family members how to use it.
  • Keep a smoke detector in the kitchen.  Change the battery twice a year when the time changes.

Cause of Burns

Steam from a car radiator

How to Prevent Burns

  • The radiator cap should not be removed when the engine is hot. Wear safety glasses and use a heavy cloth or gloves to protect your hands when removing the radiator cap.
Image of radiator cap

Motorcycle or moped exhaust pipes

  • Wear long pants and shoes when riding mopeds, motorcycles, or ATVs (all-terrain vehicles).
  • Do not let underage children ride mopeds or motorcycles.

Flame (explosions,flash burns, fire)

  • Always keep matches and lighters away from children.
  • Use caution when burning leaves or trash. Many burns are caused by aerosol cans that explode.
  • Use caution when re-lighting gas stoves and furnaces.
  • Never use lighter fluid on a burning fire or hot coals. The can may explode in your hands.
  • When refueling a lawn mower, turn off the engine and use a funnel to pour the gas into the gas tank.  If gas is spilled on a hot mower, it can ignite.
  • Do not experiment with gunpowder, gasoline, aerosol cans, firecrackers, or any other combustible materials.
  • Do not store flammable liquids (such as paint or gasoline) near an open flame, such as a gas water heater.  Flammable liquids can explode near an open flame. Also, do not store the lawn mower in the basement.
  • Do not smoke near any flammable materials.
  • Do not smoke in bed.  Use ashtrays to put out cigarette butts. Empty the ashtray only when ashes and cigarette butts are cold.
  • Practice boat safety.  Always use the bilge and blower before starting the engine to prevent an explosion.
  • Teach children not to play with lighters, matches or fireworks.
  • Wear protective eyewear while welding, mixing chemicals, or working on motors or engines.

Cause of Burns

Sunburn

How to Prevent Burns

  • Ultraviolet rays are strongest between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm; sunburns can occur faster and more easily during these hours.
  • Always use a sunscreen with SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 or more. Put sunscreen on again after swimming.
  • Water reflects sunlight.  Sunburns can occur in the shade if you are near water.
Image of cloudy days
  • Sunburns can also occur on cloudy days!
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful rays.
  • Be sure you know the risks before using sunlamps or tanning booths. If you do use a tanning booth, wear eye protection at all times.

Chemicals

  • Handle all chemicals at home, work, and school with caution.
  • Follow the safety guidelines on the label.  If you have any doubt, wear gloves.
  • Do not use gasoline as solvent to clean floors or remove paint.
  • Contact the Central Ohio Poison Center if you have safety questions about chemicals.

Electricity

  • Never climb power poles, towers, or trees near power lines.  Call the power company if you need help.
  • Keep kites and model planes away from power lines.
  • Take shelter indoors during electrical storms.
  • Never touch fallen power lines. Call 911 or the emergency squad if someone is hurt by a fallen power line.
  • All power tools should be plugged into an outlet with a ground (the third prong).
  • Water conducts electricity.  Never use electrical appliances in or near the bathtub, shower, or sink full of water.
  • Follow all OSHA/work safety guidelines when working with electricity.
  • Call the power company at least 24 hours before digging outside to avoid cutting an underground power cable.

If you have any questions, please call your local fire department's non-emergency number.

Burn Prevention: Teenage and Adult (PDF)

HH-IV-17 10/86, Revised 3/10 Copyright 1986-2010, Nationwide Children’s Hospital

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