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Children More at Risk for Burns

February 09, 2010

The Joseph M. Still Outpatient Burn Clinic at Trident Health System is recognizing Burn Awareness Week this week – a time set aside by the American Burn Association to spotlight burn awareness.

This year’s Burn Awareness Week, which continues through Feb. 13, focuses on scald burns – a topic Dr. Fred Mullins said is vitally important. As the medical director for the Joseph M. Still Outpatient Burn Clinic at Trident Health System and the president of the Joseph M. Still Burn Centers, Inc., many of the children he treats are scald victims.

“It’s the number one cause of burns in children,” he said. “Each one reminds me that parents can’t be too careful when it comes to hot liquids around their children.”

 Dr. Mullins said there are several burn prevention tips parents should keep in mind:

  • Do not leave any unattended items on the stove top.
  • Make sure all handles on cooking utensils are turned toward the stove, not where a child   could grab them, and use extra caution if you are using hot oil for cooking.
  • Better yet, consider creating a HOT ZONE around the stove that children are not allowed into. 
  • Be very cautious when using hot liquids around children. A drink heated to 140 degrees can    scald in just seconds. 
  • Try to avoid using tablecloths which could allow a child to pull hot liquids off a table. 
  • Keep all hot items away from the sides of the table.
  • Make sure your hot water heater thermostat is set to 120 degrees.
  • Always check the temperature of bath water.
  • Remember, items heated in the microwave can be exceptionally hot and cause internal burns.

Dr. Mullins said while many of the scald patients he treats are younger, there’s a segment of the older population that is at-risk for scalds, too.  Annually in the United States, fires and burns result in almost 4,000 deaths and more than 745,000 non-hospitalized injuries among all age groups, according to the ABA. Burn injuries are the second leading cause of death in the United States next to motor vehicle accidents.

Dr. Mullins said the efforts during Burn Awareness Week are just part of the burn clinic’s emphasis on education. The clinic has a full staff dedicated to working with the public and medical professionals on preventing burns and improving burn care.

“We provide our patients and their families with the best care possible, but we also work hard to prevent burns from ever happening,” he said. “It may sound strange coming from a medical facility that specializes in burn care, but we’d rather not have to treat those patients in the first place.”

The Joseph M. Still Outpatient Burn Clinic has recently relocated to the main floor at Trident Medical Center, located at 9330 Medical Plaza Drive.

Trident Health System opened this one-day-a-week burn clinic approximately two years ago to provide less severely burned patients with medical care. “The clinic treats about 50-60 patients each Wednesday, but the number is growing as word gets out about the service,” said Courtney Coker, Joseph M. Still Outpatient Burn Clinic Director.

For more information about burn care or the Joseph M. Still Outpatient Burn Clinic, please call 1-877-863.9595.

Tags: burns