Burn Prevention: Preschool and School Age

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Burns can be serious injuries at any age, but preschool and school age children are at greater risk for burn injuries because they are curious and like to explore with their hands.  The following information reviews the common causes of burns and the steps you can take to keep most types of burns from happening to your child.

Burn Prevention Preschool and School Age

Cause of Burn How to Prevent Burn
Scalds from hot water
Set your household hot water tank temperature at 120°F. or below.
Teach children to turn on cold water first and then slowly add hot water.
Always check bath or shower temperature before placing your child in the tub.

Kitchen/cooking injuries

Supervise children when they prepare foods at the stove.
Keep handles of pots and pans turned toward the back of the stove
Allow no "horseplay" or fighting in the kitchen.
Do not let appliance cords dangle over counter edges.
Do not let children wear loose shirts or nightgowns while cooking (especially with gas stoves).
Show children how to test containers for heat before removing them from a microwave oven (use hot pads if hot).
Teach children to use hot pads to remove food from a microwave and then to lift the cover slowly with a utensil (the steam can cause burns).
Do not fill a microwave container more than one-third full to avoid hot food or liquid sloshing out and causing burns.
Keep your child away from fireplaces, space heaters and stoves at all times.
The glass window in front of gas fireplaces gets very hot. Teach your child not to touch glass during or after a fire in a gas fireplace.
When refueling a lawn mower, turn off the engine and let the mower cool completely before refueling. Use a funnel to pour the gas into the gas tank.  If gas is spilled on a hot mower, it can ignite. Do not let children under 14 years of age refuel the lawn mower.
Never use lighter fluid on a burning fire or hot coals. Teach your child to stay away from outside grills and fires. Don’t let them run around campfires.  Even smoking embers can cause serious burns.
Don’t let children play with sparklers.
Fire play
Keep matches, lighters, gasoline, kerosene, gunpowder, spray cans and paint out of reach.
Stress fire safety. Teach your child not to play with fire.
Always have a fire extinguisher nearby when grilling, having a campfire and in the kitchen.


Limit exposure to the sun. Wearing hats and clothing treated for SPF protection reduces injury to the skin caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Sunburns can occur most easily between the hours of 10:00 am and 2:00 pm.


Never allow your child to climb power poles or towers or trees near power lines.
Never allow your child to touch fallen power lines.
Water conducts electricity. Teach your child never to use electrical appliances in or near the bathtub, shower or a sink full of water.
Make sure the service panel (“fuse box”) is closed - and locked, if possible.
If you live in an apartment, make sure the utility closet is kept locked.
Be sure you have enough smoke detectors and check the batteries twice a year.
Your child should never fly kites or model airplanes near power lines.

Drinking or eating chemicals (dry cleaner, lye, dishwasher detergent, acid, etc.)

Keep all chemicals in a locked cabinet out of children’s reach.

Keep the Poison Control Center phone number 1-800-222-1222 at all phones in case of emergency.

IMPORTANT:  If you suspect your child of playing with fire, call your local fire department.  If you live within Franklin County, call the Juvenile Fire-setter Crisis Line at (614) 645-7377.

If you have any questions, call your local Fire Department's non-emergency number.

Burn Prevention: Preschool and School Age (PDF)

HH-IV-18 10/86, Revised 10/11 Copyright 1986-2011, Nationwide Children’s Hospital