January 19, 2005 -- Most parents know that the kitchen can be a dangerous place for kids. Yet a new study conducted from 1997 to 2002 found that there were an estimated 17,237 burns treated for children age five and younger, with one-year-olds at the highest risk. How are parents letting this happen?
According to the study, "Kitchen Scalds and Thermal Burns in Children Five and Younger," which appeared in the January issue of Pediatrics, the high frequency of scalds among one-year-olds can be related to the fact that their motor skill development outpaces their cognitive development, so they can physically grab at something without understanding the associated risks of injury.
The study also contends that children, especially toddlers, can reach hot liquids on elevated surfaces (think boiling soup on a stove, or even coffee on a kitchen table), yet their parents or caregivers fail to recognize either the danger or the consequences. Unlike dangers involving motor vehicles or poisons, parents are not as vigilant in their own kitchens.
Among the study's other findings:
To prevent such injuries, parents should use intervention strategies that have been around for decades, including to:
If your child does receive a minor burn, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends:
If the burn is severe, the CDC suggests:
The kitchen is a room filled with hazards, yet it's a place where family activity is centered. What do you do to ensure that your kids stay safe in the kitchen? Share your tips and stories, on our message board below: