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Safety checklist: burns and scalds

New Zealand Child Safety Foundation

Every year, around seven to eight New Zealand children die of burns and scalds - primarily of fire related injuries sustained in house or car fires. One child a year is likely to die of a scald injury. Heaters, matches/lighters, cigarettes and candles are the most common ignition source for house fires in which children die.

Unsupervised children playing with matches/lighters are commonly involved in fatal car fires. The New Zealand Fire Service estimates that a smoke alarm would have helped victims to escape in 70% of fatal fires.

Warning: if it can heat, it can burn!

  • Turn your water temperature down to 54°C (Celsius)
  • Keep electric cords from kettles and irons out of the reach of children
  • Keep children away from the stove when cooking
  • Turn pot handles towards the back of the stove
  • Install a stovetop guard
  • Keep hot drinks and food away from the edge of tables
  • Use tablemats instead of table clothes
  • It is dangerous to carry your child and hot liquid or food at the same time.
  • Shield your child from steam
  • Keep matches out of reach of children
  • Keep candles away from children
  • Keep oil burners and candle burners away from children
  • Cigarette lighters are not toys - refrain from buying lighters that look like toys
  • Ensure food and liquids are cooled down before being given to a child.
  • Ensure fireguards are used all around heaters and fire places
  • Put cold water in the bath first
  • Don’t leave a child alone in the bathroom while the bath is filling
  • Test bath temperature three times before placing a child in bath water.
  • Use a hot tap cover
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy
  • Ensure a child knows where to get out in case of fire
  • Ensure heaters are safe and out of traffic areas
  • Ensure a heater is not left in a child’s room while sleeping
  • Install smoke alarms in bedrooms and living areas
  • Only buy nightwear for children that is ‘fire resistant'
  • Buy nightclothes with safety labels
  • Ensure nightclothes are close fitting
  • Teach children what 'hot' means
  • Always use sunscreen outdoors even when cloudy
  • Ensure a child wears a hat and sunscreen outdoors

This checklist has been kindly provided by the New Zealand Child Safety Foundation, one of New Zealand’s least known but most valuable charitable foundations. Established in 1985 as the New Zealand Safe Playing Trust to teach safety to pre-school and early primary school pupils, the Child Safety Foundation NZ was renamed in 1993. The Foundation is not funded by the Government and derives it’s funding from donations and fundraising. The foundation, through the generosity of its sponsors and other limited funding provides worthwhile services to support young families.