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Q&A: University Health System trauma doctor discusses precautions to prevent burns from occurring with children

Check your coffee before drinking and take steps to prevent spills

SAN ANTONIO – In our KSAT Community spotlight this month, Safe Kids San Antonio led by University Health System helps prevent injuries and death in kids 18 years of age and younger.

Each year serious burns are a top reason children are rushed to the University Health System Trauma Center for medical treatment.

The risks are for young kids are all over home especially in the kitchen and bathroom.

Dr. Chris Crane, a University Health trauma doctor who specializes in treating pediatric burn patients discusses where in the home children are most at risk of being burned.


1) First, describe the types of injuries you most often see for children burned at home?  

“We see all kinds of burns,” said Crane. “The most common ones that we will typically see are in related to scald burns, like hot soups, hot coffee, hot bath water -- those kinds of burns are very common.”

Kids reach for hot foods and they try to use the microwave and spill scalding liquids on themselves. They see adults use the stove and try to use it, which is dangerous.  

Hot pans with food may be on the stove. Kids may turn on the stove and burn themselves. Scalding bath water can be dangerous.


2) How serious are the burn injuries you’ve treated, and are these toddlers or older kids, too?

“It kind of changes as they get older and more independent,” said Crane. “Some of the ones you see in the child and toddler age group revolve around exploring and reaching for things above their head, but all age groups are susceptible to burns.”

Under four is the biggest group of children injured, but some other children get hurt, too.


3) We are all spending more time at home these days, so the risk of preventable burns may be greater. What steps can parents take to protect their little ones?  

“Check your hot water heater settings, if you can lower those settings to about 120 degrees that will help prevent a lot of serious burns from hot water and distance kids from cooking surfaces,” Crane said.

Pans should be placed on back burners where kids can’t reach them. Cups with lids (like sippy cups) help prevent spills. Test the bathwater before placing a child in the water and don’t allow small children to turn on the faucets themselves.


Shown below are helpful handouts to keep at home for safety reminders:

KSAT Community operates in partnership with University Health System, Energy Transfer and Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union.


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