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Helpful Tips For Keeping You and Your Family Safe From Fire And Household Burns

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.”

About the author

Jessa McClure
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Jessa McClure holds a degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, TX, where she is currently an adviser for student publications. She has been a writer in the health care field since 2009.

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Helpful Tips For Keeping You and Your Family Safe From Fire And Household Burns