Burn Prevention: Teens and Adults

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Burn injuries can be serious at any age. Teens and adults are at risk for different types of burn injuries. Below are some common causes of burns. These will help teens and adults take steps to avoid getting seriously burned.

If you have been burned, apply cool water to the area for 20 minutes. Do not use ice or ice water on the burn.

Internet and Social Media Warning

Always check and monitor what your child is watching and reading on the internet. There are a lot of videos and “challenges” on the internet. Some of these may include the use of fire. Do not take part in these videos or challenges. They can lead to serious injuries.

Hot Water Burns

  • Set the temperature on your hot water tank below 120° Fahrenheit (F) or 48.9°
    Celsius (C).
  • Turn the cold water on first, then the hot water.

Kitchen or Cooking Accidents

  • Never use a cooking stove to heat your home. Radiator Cap
  • Create a safe zone of 3 feet around the stove while using it.
  • Turn the handles of pots and pans towards the back of the stove (Picture 1). Grabbing them can cause burns on your hands, or you may drop the hot pot or pan.
  • Do not wear loose clothing while cooking.
  • Clean up spilled grease right away to prevent slipping.
  • Be careful with microwaved instant soup containers. They can tip and spill.
  • Put away all appliance cords.
  • Use oven mitts when taking food out of a microwave. If you use a cover, lift it safely and slowly with a utensil. The steam under the cover can cause burns.
  • Fill food bowls or containers less than halfway full when putting them in the microwave. Food or liquid can spill and cause burns.
  • Smother a grease fire with a pan lid. Do not put the fire out with water. Do not carry a burning pan out of the house.


  • Have a smoke detector in each room in your home. Replace the batteries every 6 months. If your smoke detectors are over 10 years old, replace them with new ones.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher close while grilling, around a campfire, and in the kitchen.
  • Never use lighter fluid on a burning fire or hot coals. Have a 3-foot safe zone around grills and campfires.
  • Use long-handled utensils and oven mitts when grilling.
  • Keep lit candles more than 12 inches away from anything that can burn, like curtains, books, beds, clothes, and paper.


  • Do not climb towers or trees near power lines or power line poles.
  • Do not touch a power line that has fallen.


  • Never smoke around medical oxygen.
  • Keep cigarettes, lighters, and matches locked up, high in a cabinet.
  • Do not smoke if you are sleepy or have been drinking alcohol.

Other Tips

  • Sunburns happen mostly between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) over 30 before going outside. Reapply sunscreen if your skin gets wet while swimming.
  • You can still get a sunburn on a cloudy day. You can also get a sunburn while in the shade if the sun is reflecting off a body of water.

Burn Prevention: Teenage and Adult (PDF), Arabic (PDF), Nepali (PDF), Somali (PDF), Spanish (PDF)

HH-IV-17 • ©1986, revised 2023 • Nationwide Children's Hospital