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. 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, then slowly add hot water.
Always check bath or shower temperature before placing your child in the tub and supervise while children are in the bath or shower.

Kitchen/cooking injuries

Help children when they prepare foods at the stove.

Be careful with instant soup containers.  They tend to tip and spill.  This can cause a severe scald injury.
Keep handles of pots and pans turned to the back of the stove. 
Allow no "horseplay" or fighting in the kitchen.  Create a three foot “safe zone” away from the stove for preschool children.
Do not let appliance cords dangle over counter edges.  They pose a double risk of serious injury: they can cause a spill if they are pulled or electric shock if they are bitten or cut.
Do not let children wear loose shirts or nightgowns while cooking (especially with gas stoves).
Teach children to use a hot pad to remove food from a microwave, 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 so hot food or liquid does not spill out and cause a severe burn.

Have children sit at a table to eat to prevent spills onto their laps.

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.
Never use lighter fluid on a burning fire or hot coals.  Supervise and teach your child to stay away from outside grills and fires.  Do not allow them to run near camp fires.  Create a three foot safe zone around the camp fire.  Smoking embers can cause serious burns.
Do not let children play with sparklers.  They can create intense heat which can result in a severe burn injury. 
Fire play
Keep matches, lighters, gasoline, kerosene, gunpowder, spray cans and paint out of the reach of children.
Stress fire safety.  Teach your child not to play with fire.
Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby when grilling, around 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. 
Apply a sunscreen lotion with an SPF of 30 or higher whenever your child is outside.  Reapply after water exposure such as when using a sprinkler or water slide and swimming.
Water reflects the sun's rays.  Sunburn can even occur in the shade if the child is near water.  Sunburn can also happen on cloudy days.


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.
Be sure you have smoke detectors in every room and check the batteries twice a year.
Stay with your child and help him or her fly kites or model airplanes.  Avoid 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.  They will tell you what to do.

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 614-645-7641, Ext. 74142

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

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 2/18 Copyright 1986-2011, Nationwide Children’s Hospital