The month of December can be a blur for many of us, between holiday parties, travel plans, entertaining a crowded house, cooking turkeys and lighting trees. But excitement and cheer aside, this celebratory time can quickly turn into disaster if proper precautions are not taken. That’s why Shriners Hospital for Children recently released tips for families during this time of year through their Be Burn Aware campaign.
“Burns are much more common than we would like, and we notice there is a significant increase during the holidays,” said Carlos Jimenez, M.D., surgeon at the Shriners Hospital for Children—Galveston. “There are a lot of family members, parties and activities going on, and supervision wears off.”
Whether it is grabbing a hot pan from the stove, touching an open flame or being around a dried-up Christmas tree that catches fire, Jimenez said children can suffer life-altering third-degree burns from these incidents.
At the Shriners Hospital for Children—Galveston, Jimenez and his team work to heal children inflicted with burns, no matter if they are newborns or 18 years old. He notes that treating burns for children is very different than treating burns for adults.
“Particularly in children—a burn that can be benign and look superficial to a grown person, it is not the same for a child,” he said. “Children’s skin is tighter, thinner and the surface area for a child is much bigger—the total body surface area is higher than for an adult.”
If your child does get a burn, Jimenez said, it is important to get them care immediately.
“We recommend that any burn for a pediatric patient be evaluated within 24 to 48 hours—the acute care phase. During this time, you can lose fluids rapidly, and depending on the size of the burn, you might need surgery,” Jimenez said.
To decrease the number of burn incidents over the holidays, Shriners has put together a list of tips to reduce the risk of fires in the home as part of their Be Burn Aware campaign, including: water fresh trees daily; turn pot handles toward the back of the stove; and never leave candles unattended.
“These are simple things that during the holidays can be recognized and rectified to prevent burn injuries. It is also important to know that the Shriners Hospital is available to provide care regardless of the family’s ability to pay,” Jimenez said.
For a full list of tips to avoid burn injuries and fires during the holidays, please visit beburnaware.org.
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