Tame the Flame: Preventing Burns in the Kitchen

Each year, the U.S. Fire Administration recognizes the first full week in February as Burn Awareness Week, spreading messages about preventing and caring for burn injuries. With approximately 450,000 incidents requiring medical treatment each year, burns are one of the leading causes of accidental death and injury in the country, according to the American Burn Association.

Most burn injuries happen in the home, and the kitchen is one of the most common locations in which they take place.

Medical and safety experts alike urge anyone who’s cooking to practice burn safety and prevention by following a few tips:

1. Make sure smoke alarms are working and replace batteries every 6 months.
2. Teach children about the dangers of hot stove tops and ovens, and keep them at least 3 feet away from a working stove.
3. Make sure there is enough ventilation from heat and cooking oils.
4. Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove.
5. Use dry oven mitts, not towels, to handle pots and pans.
6. Use timers to keep foods cooking in check.
7. Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.


“People cooking should especially use caution when handling hot oil as it can ignite if it falls into flames,” said Ricardo Castrellon, M.D., medical director of the Burn Center at South Miami Hospital. “If hot oil spills on you, immediately remove all clothing covering the area and apply water to the skin. Seek emergency care right away for any large blisters that form and for blistering burns to the face, hands, feet or on top of joints.”


Other articles about burn safety and prevention featured on this blog include:

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