In 2001, more than 800 children age 14 and under died and 47,000 were injured in residential fires. It is estimated that flames and burns are responsible for one-fourth of all fire-related deaths and injuries.

Approximately 75,000 children ages 14 and under are treated in hospital emergency rooms for thermal burn-related injuries, including flames and contact burns. Children age 14 and under account for nearly half of all emergency room treated thermal burns. An average of 16 children ages 14 and under die and nearly 31,500 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for scald burn-related injuries each year. Children ages 4 and under account for nearly all of these deaths and the majority of these injuries. Among children ages 4 and under hospitalized for burn-related injuries, it is estimated that 65% are treated for scald burns and 20% for contact burns.

Understanding Burns

There are seven common types of burns.

  • Flame burns, caused by direct contact with fire.
  • Radiation burns, caused by close exposure to fire or high heat.
  • Scalds, caused by hot liquids or steam.
  • Contact burns, the result of touching hot objects.
  • Chemical burns, caused by contact with corrosive chemicals, such as battery acid.
  • Electrical burns, caused by contact with live electrical wires.
  • Ultraviolet burns, caused by overexposure to the sun or to sun lamps.

Prevention Tips


  • Keep children and pets away from cooking food.  Enforce a “kid-free zone”around your stove. Turn pot handles inward. Never leave them sticking out where they could be bumped or grabbed by child.
  • Test all heated liquid and food before giving it to a child or placing it within their reach.
  • Remove tablecloths when toddlers are present in the home. They tug and pull on everything within reach. Hot liquids can easily be pulled down on them.
  • Never hold a child while drinking a hot liquid.