Mothers of adolescents may be largely ignorant of the disastrous burn risks to their young ones and even what age group is most likely to get burned, according to Australian researchers.
“Hot beverage scalds are the leading cause of childhood burns in Australia and many other developed countries,” author Jacqueline Burgess told Reuters Health in an email.
“In Australia, hot beverage scalds account for 20 percent of all the burns we treat – a figure that has remained constant for the past 15 years,” said Burgess, a researcher at the University of Queensland in South Brisbane.
About 75 percent of these burns occur in children under the age of 24 months, she commented.
The researchers gathered baseline data in advance of testing an app they developed, called ‘Cool Runnings’, which is designed to teach burn safety and first aid.
Participants were all adult women with at least one child between 5 and 12 months of age at the start of the study. Roughly half of the women were under age 29 and about 40 percent were first-time mothers.
Researchers scored the participants’ responses on a 19-item questionnaire that measured knowledge on an aggregate of burns, first aid for burns and burn risk factors.
Less than half of the women were aware of the fact that children ages 6 to 24 months are the group most susceptible to such uncalled accidents, Burgess said.
“This is the age when motor skills are developing, and mobility, curiosity, and a desire to imitate adults are increasing; however, this age group lacks a sense of danger and awareness, and the ability to withdraw from heated objects and liquids,” she said.
Therefore, parents of this age group need to be cautious and particularly vigilant when they are preparing and consuming hot drinks whilst ensuring they are out of reach – at the back of the bench, in the middle of the table, not the edge, she noted.
“It is a good idea to keep young children out of the kitchen altogether with a safety gate so children can’t access all the potential hazards found in the kitchen,” Burgess said.
Applying 20-minutes of cool running water to any sort of burn is the best first aid treatment, resulting in less pain, reduced burn intensity and faster recovery time, she added.
“This treatment is beneficial up to three hours after the burn occurs. Cool the burn but make sure the child doesn’t get too cold. This treatment is fairly readily available, is free, and is the best treatment you can apply.”
Something even better could be applying toothpaste on the affected idea, in generous amount. This will definitely give a soothing effect.
While 94 percent of mothers knew to cool a burn with water only, just 10 percent realized they should do it for a full 20 minutes, the researchers report in Injury Prevention.