Scalds, burns and fires, oh my! Easy tips to keep your family safe from burn injuries

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According to the American Burn Association, a burn injury serious enough to require treatment happens every minute in the U.S.

It doesn’t stop there. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that each day over 300 children are seen in an emergency room for burn injuries.

The University of Michigan Trauma Burn Center, one of the nation’s oldest and most respected centers for treating patients who have suffered from burn injuries, admits an average of 1,400 multiple-trauma and burn patients each year in the hospital.

While most people would assume those burn injuries result from fires or flames, hot liquids and steam can burn the skin just as easily! In fact, the leading cause of burn injuries in children less than 5 years old is scalding from hot liquids. Moreover, 95 percent of these injuries occur in the home!

This week (the first week of February) is observed as National Burn Awareness Week. The week serves as a great reminder to local communities to become more aware of burn injuries and learn how to prevent them in their own homes. Continue reading

Don’t get burned this holiday season!

Easy tips from the U-M Trauma Burn Center

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The holiday season is upon us which means I’m back on the UofMHealthBlogs to offer some quick and easy fire safety tips to help keep you and your loved ones safe during the holidays!

Let me start by introducing myself. I’m the managing director of the University of Michigan Trauma Burn Center, one of the nation’s oldest and most respected centers for treating patients who have suffered from burn injuries. We see an average of 1,400 multiple-trauma and burn patients each year.

Many people don’t know that holiday activities are leading causes of U.S. home fires. That’s right. Activities you do each year at this time could actually be putting your home at risk for a fire.

Christmas trees, holiday cooking, candles burning, decorations and fireplaces can all be hazardous to your home.

But, don’t worry! I’m not saying you can’t participate in all of these wonderful family activities. In fact, most home fires and burn injuries can be prevented just by planning ahead and taking preventive steps. Continue reading

Lighting fireworks for the 4th? Pick a ‘designated lighter’ & keep an eye on the kids

U-M burn prevention expert offers tips & urges early intervention for kids who play with fire

When it comes to fireworks, Karla Klas has seen it all. A young teen whose eye ruptured when a firework went off in his face. A kindergartner seriously burned by a sparkler that ignited his clothes. A middle-aged man who suffered horrifying facial injuries, when he lit fireworks after drinking more than a dozen beers.

Fireworks injuries - courtesy Consumer Product Safety Commission

Fireworks injuries – courtesy Consumer Product Safety Commission

So, as Fourth of July week rolls around, she and her colleagues are bracing for a new crop of fireworks-related injuries to roll in to the U-M Emergency Department and Trauma Burn Center. They care for the most seriously burned and injured patients in the state.

The number of patients injured by fireworks started to climb two years ago, when Michigan legalized the sale of more powerful fireworks in the state. More than 210 registered sellers of fireworks now offer everything from bottle rockets to aerial shells.

Nationally, fireworks hurt more than 7,400 people in the weeks leading up to and immediately after July Fourth. That’s 65 percent of all people hurt by fireworks all year.

“We’re really sending mixed messages to people, who think that because fireworks are legal, they’re safe,” says Klas, who runs the center’s prevention programs and serves as the national prevention committee chair for the American Burn Association. “Plus, local ordinances about when and where you can set them off are all over the map.”

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