Two Central Texas children and their mother were killed this month when space heaters caused a fire. Those children lost their lives, but Safe Kids Mid-Texas Coalition Coordinator Susan Burchfield said if families follow fire safety precautions, this doesn’t have to happen.
“Having a working smoke alarm reduces a person’s chances of dying a fire by nearly half,” Burchfield said. “We recommend that all parents and caregivers make sure they have a working smoke alarm on every level of the home, outside every sleeping area and in each bedroom.”
Here are some burn and safety tips for parents:
- Keep matches, gasoline, lighters and other flammable materials locked away, out of children’s reach.
- Never leave a burning candle unattended.
- Place space heaters at least three feet from curtains, papers, furniture and other flammable materials. Always turn space heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Test all smoke alarms every month and change the batteries once a year, even if they are hard-wired.
- Consider a home sprinkler system. The combination of smoke alarms and sprinklers can reduce your chances of dying in a fire by 82 percent.
But there doesn’t have to be a flame for someone, especially a child, to get burned.
“One of our biggest issues with burns is parents carrying a child and a hot beverage or hot food,” she said. “One flip of the arm and we have a scalding injury.”
A recent study in Pediatrics, found that of the non-tap water scalds, 90.4 percent were related to hot cooking or drinking liquids.
Here are some tips to help keep your children safe in the kitchen and around hot food:
- Keep children at least three feet from hot appliances, pots, pans food or liquids.
- Use spill-resistant mugs when drinking hot liquids around children.
- Avoid using tablecloths or anything a child can pull on and cause hot food to spill.
- Test and stir food before serving children to make sure it is cool enough to eat.
- Closely supervise children when they are in or near the kitchen.
In an average lifetime, one in ten households will have a person injured in a fire, Burchfield said.
“To prepare for an emergency, parents should plan several escape routes out of their home and then designate a safe place to meet,” she said. “Then practice with your kids so they know exactly what to do.”