A total of 5,349 children were admitted to hospital emergency rooms suffering from skin burns since the beginning of the winter, according to Beterem, the Israel National Center for Child Safety and Health, which is currently holding Burn Safety Awareness Week.
This season’s figure is 6% higher than last year, and there are many more burns that go unreported, said Beterem director-general Orly Silbinger on Monday.
“In view of the increase in child burns in the winter months and on weekends, it was decided to hold an awareness week for the prevention of burns to children starting on February 5,” she said.
The most dangerous age for childhood skin burns is from birth to four years old, with one-year-olds being the most susceptible of all. The organization’s data indicate that hot liquids are the most common cause of burns in children.
Most cases of burns occur in and around the home; they are responsible for about 85% of children’s emergency room visits and about 90% of hospitalizations.
Most of the injuries in the home are in the kitchen.
Among the religious sectors, there are unique burns from gas and electric Shabbat hot plates and hot-water urns, especially when they are too accessible on counter-tops or when children climb up to reach them.
“Many parents are not aware of the severity of burns from hot liquids. There may be long hospitalization for a month or two; very-painful treatments [that] cause great suffering to the child and his family; and there are skin transplants and follow-ups for years afterward,” said Silbinger. “Families feel no sense of danger and are not alert, unlike when they cross the road or spend time on the beach.”
To prevent burns from the hot-water faucet in sinks and bathtubs, the temperature of the water should be limited; a child under the age of five should not be left alone for even a moment.
Prof. Yosef Haiek, chairman of the national committee for the prevention of burns, said, “It is better to prevent burns than to treat them. Burns are the most severe injury to the human body, and the damage can be long lasting, accompanied by disabilities and disfigurement.
“We treat hundreds of children each year from accidents that could have been prevented. We are at the forefront of medicine and the treatment of burns, but sometimes the damage is irreversible and can even endanger life,” he said.
Because the skin of young children is thinner than that of teenagers and adults, their skin burns at lower temperatures and more seriously.
PREVENTIVE MEASURES like these are recommended by Beterem and the Health Ministry:
1) While carrying a toddler, do not cook or drink hot beverages.
2) Keep hot drinks away from children.
3) When cooking, move the handles of pots and pans toward the wall.
4) Place Shabbat plates and hot-water urns and dispensers out of children’s reach.
5) Make sure grandparents’ homes, day care centers and kindergartens are also safe for children.
6) In the event of a burn from a hot liquid, cool it with lukewarm water for about 20 minutes.
7) In the event of a burn from fire such as a stove or campfire, roll the victim /// Fire burns Keep away from the source of the fire. Roll it or any cloth in the area to choke the fire with running water.
8) Keep children away from the source of electrical current with an object that does not conduct electricity.