WATER-JEL Technologies prides itself on being not only the world leader in emergency burn care and first aid products, but also a leading source of information on burns, emergency burn treatment and household burn safety. Our Burn MD website is a valuable resource for both consumers and professionals. It contains a wealth of information that will prepare you to treat a burn emergency, and also to avoid one.
Understanding how burns happen, taking proper steps to prevent them and being prepared to administer the appropriate first aid—for those injuries that cannot be avoided—will help protect you and your family against burns.
Here are some important tips that will help keep you and your family free from burns all year long. For a complete list of tips by category, please visit Burn MD Home Safety Guidelines.
Home Safety Guidelines for Preventing Burns
In the Kitchen
Avoid wearing loose-fitting long-sleeved clothing when cooking.
Have good lighting in the kitchen and work areas.
Always keep pot handles turned inward, toward the back of the stove. Cook on rear burners whenever possible.
Keep a large lid within reach when frying to extinguish grease fires, if necessary.
Use large potholders or oven mitts.
Avoid leaving food to cook unattended.
Use a “fill-through-the-spout” teapot, the kind without a lid and with a whistle in the spout, to prevent “spilled water” scalds.
Avoid using area rugs in the kitchen, especially near the stove. They can cause falls and scalds.
Purchase appliances with short cords, and keep all cords from dangling over the edge of counters, as they can be pulled down. Cords may also become caught in cabinet doors, causing hot food and liquids to spill onto you or others. The grease in deep-fat fryers and cookers can reach temperatures higher than 400 degrees (F) and cause serious burns in less than one second.
Periodically check all handles on appliances and cooking utensils to ensure the handles are tightly fastened and will afford proper heat protection.
When removing lids from hot foods, remember that steam may have accumulated. Lift the cover or lid away from your face and arm.
Steam reaches temperatures greater than 200 degrees (F) when using a microwave, and builds rapidly in covered containers, which can result in burns to the face, arms and hands. Puncture plastic wrap or use vented containers to allow steam to escape while cooking. Or wait at least one minute before removing the cover. When removing covers, lift the corner farthest from you and away from your face or arm.
Especially for Children in the Kitchen
Keep children out of the kitchen when preparing hot meals.
If young children want to help with meal preparation, give them something cool to mix in a location away from the cooking. Do not allow a child to stand on a chair or sit on the counter next to the stove.
Place young children in highchairs or playpens a safe distance from countertops, stovetops, hot liquids, hot surfaces or other cooking hazards while preparing or serving food.
Cook on back burners when children are present.
Never hold a child while drinking a hot liquid.
Children should not be allowed to use cooking appliances until they are tall enough to reach cooking surfaces safely. As children get older and taller and assume more cooking responsibilities, teach them safe cooking practices.
Children under age seven should not operate the microwave unless they are closely supervised. Instruct and supervise older children.
Keep children out of the “traffic path” and check for their location before moving any hot liquids in the kitchen.
Inform babysitters about kitchen and appliance safety and teach them to prevent burn injuries when preparing meals.
When Barbecuing in the Yard
Read and follow manufacturers’ directions when using grills.
When grilling with propane and propane accessories, if you press the igniter button and it doesn’t light, turn off the gas and give the grill a few minutes before trying again. The gas is heavier than air, and needs time to dissipate.
Use only commercial starting fluid to light charcoals. Never use gasoline or other flammable liquids.
Never add starter fluid to hot coals. They could catch fire and explode.
Thoroughly extinguish hot coals before disposal.
Supervise children at all times when grills are in use.
Establish a three-foot “keep away zone” for children around grills.
Do not wear loose-fitting clothing. Tie or pin up long hair.
Always keep Burn Jel Plus nearby in case of an accident.
When Camping with the Family
When a fireplace is not available, build campfires in a cleared area.
Adult supervision is especially important when children toast foods over the fire.
Flaming marshmallows could ignite hair or clothing.
Keep a supply of water or an extinguisher within easy reach.
Store firewood at a safe distance.
Do not leave a burning campfire unattended.
Make sure coals are thoroughly extinguished before disposal.
Always keep Burn Jel Plus nearby in case of an accident.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few questions we frequently receive regarding burns and their treatment. For the full list of questions, please visit Burn MD FAQ.
What causes most burns?
Experts classify burns into three major types, depending on their cause:
Thermal—Burns caused by flame, steam, hot liquid or hot metal.
Electrical—Burns caused by direct contact with electrical current, or the passing of electrical current through the body, including lightning.
Chemical—Burns caused by direct bodily contact with acids, lye, strong detergents or chemicals, or by inhalation of chemical fumes.
Each kind of burn has unique characteristics, and as a result, appropriate first aid may vary.
What shouldn't I put on a burn?
Do NOT put butter, grease, dry dressings, ointments or salves on a burn; experts agree that these things don’t cool the burn or relieve the pain, and some may leave behind a greasy residue that must be physically removed if the victim later requires medical attention. Instead, a one-step burn care product, such as Burn Jel Plus, is recommended. Burn Jel Plus promptly relieves pain, cools the burn and reduces its progression, and helps promote healing.
How severe does a burn have to be to warrant immediate medical attention?
All burns should be treated with concern. It is important to keep in mind the golden rule of burn management: If someone has a burn on his or her body exceeding the size of the palm of the person’s own hand; a burn where blisters are present; a burn to genitalia, face or to any flexion point, that person should seek medical attention. Also, all electrical burns require medical attention. Be sure to elevate the burned extremity above the level of the heart while waiting for medical attention.