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Preventing childhood burns

Safe Kids Miami-Dade County

Unintentional injuries are one of the leading causes of death among children.  Most of these injuries are preventable.  At Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, we are committed to keeping children safe. Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, is the Proud Lead Organization for the Miami-Dade County SAFE KIDS Coalition.
The Miami-Dade County SAFE KIDS Coalition is comprised of public, private and voluntary organizations united and committed to identify and significantly reduce unintentional deaths and injuries to the children of South Florida.  We respond to the needs of our community by providing professional education, practical training programs, and legislative initiatives essential to promote the safety and well being of our children.


Because young children may not perceive danger as readily or may lack the ability to escape a life-threatening burn situation, make sure they are not exposed to open flames or other burn risks. 
  • Keep matches, candles, gasoline, lighters and all other flammable materials locked away and out of childrenís reach.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended. Place candles in safe locations, away from combustible materials and where children or pets cannot tip them over.
  • Keep children away from cooking and heating appliances (e.g., space heaters, irons, hair styling tools). Never leave the kitchen while you are cooking. If you must leave the room, take the child with you.

Children's skin burns at lower temperatures and more deeply than that of older children and adults. A child exposed to 140-degree Farenheit liquid for three seconds will sustain a third-degree burn.
  • Set your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Consider installing water faucets and shower heads containing anti-scald technology.
  • Use back burners and turn pot handles to the back of the stove when cooking.
  • Keep hot foods and liquids away from table and counter edges. Never carry or hold children and hot foods or liquids at the same time.
  • Keep appliance cords out of children’s reach, especially if the appliances contain hot foods or liquids.

Precautions to avoid fire in the home can also reduce a childís risk of burn injury. 
  • Install smoke alarms in your home on every level and in every sleeping area. Test them once a month. Replace the batteries at least two times a year, such as when daylight savings time starts and ends. Ten-year lithium alarms do not require battery changes. Replace all alarms every 10 years. For the best protection against different types of fires, consider installing both ionization alarms (better at sensing flaming fires) and photoelectric alarms (better at sensing slow, smoky fires).
  • Avoid plugging several appliance cords into the same electrical socket. Replace old or frayed electrical wires and appliance cords, and keep all cords on top of rugs. Cover unused electrical outlets with safety devices.
  • Place space heaters at least 3 feet from curtains, papers, furniture and other flammable materials. Make sure heaters are stable, and use protective coverings.
  • Never smoke in bed. Extinguish all cigarettes before leaving home or going to bed. 

For more information about SAFE KIDS or for additional age specific safety tips, log on to:  . The Miami Dade County SafeKids Coordinator at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, can be reached at 305-663-6800. 

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