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Child Safety: Preventing Burns

Table of Contents


Topic Overview

Burns are a potential hazard in any home. There are four kinds of burning hazards that may hurt your child:

Heat burns

Heat burns, also called thermal burns, are caused by contact with fire, steam, hot objects, or hot liquids. Tap water is a leading cause of nonfatal burns.

Protect your child from heat burns in the following ways:

Electrical burns

Electrical burns are caused by contact with electrical sources or by lightning. Electrical current passing through a person's body may injure blood vessels, nerves, and muscles. Also, the throat and lungs can swell rapidly and severely, making breathing hard. The current can also damage the heart.

Protect your child around your home by using the following safety measures:

Friction burns

Friction burns are caused by contact with any hard surface such as pavement ("road rash"), carpets, or gym floor surfaces. Most friction burns that occur in young children aren't serious. But they can be uncomfortable and painful. You can help prevent friction burns in the following ways:

Chemical burns

Chemical burns need evaluation and treatment. Call the Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222 for specific treatment for a chemical burn. Have the product container with you when you call.

Burns can result from contact with a solid, powdered, or liquid chemical. A chemical burn may be serious because of the action of the corrosive or irritating chemicals on the skin. A chemical burn on the skin is often deeper and larger than it may first appear. Chemical fumes and vapors can also irritate or damage the body, especially the skin, lungs, and eyes. A swallowed chemical may be poisonous or may cause burning in the throat and esophagus.

Help protect young children from chemical burns by keeping the following types of items completely out of reach:

If your children use battery-operated toys, make sure the batteries are in protective casings that require assistance from an adult to open (such as casings secured with screws).


Credits for Child Safety: Preventing Burns

Current as of: September 20, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine


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