Prevent Burns and Scalds

Uploaded by WestBendinsurance on 16.04.2012

[Narrator] Have you ever been scalded? Maybe by hot steam from an iron? Or a hot cup of
coffee? As most of us have experienced, burns like that can hurt. Can you imagine what it
would feel like to have that scalding hot water cover half of your body all at once?
Sadly, over the last four years a devastating new trend has a growing number of infants
and young children experiencing just that.
Here is Brad Temple, a Senior Attorney for West Bend Mutual Insurance Company’s specialty
lines division to discuss this trend.
[Brad Temple] In the last four years we've seen five claims come in involving burns to
children as a result of pulling a crock pot and having that scalding water come down on
their bodies and cause significant burns. Those five claims are in the top seven as
far as claims go for our childcare centers. These general liability claims, as far as
being the most severe injuries, the highest medical treatment. Just really some of the
worst injuries that we've seen.
The problem arises when you have the slow cooker which is usually placed up on a shelf
or a counter, and it has to be plugged in. There is a cord that dangles there - and a
lot of the time the kids who are burned are younger, and they're very curious, and so
they see the cord coming down from the slow cooker - and a lot of our cases involve kids
grabbing onto the cord and pulling on it.
[Narrator] In 2007, a 19-month-old girl did exactly that in her childcare center in Wisconsin.
Scalding hot water from the slow cooker quickly covered large portions of her chest, shoulders,
and back. Blistering occurred almost immediately and she will likely have this deep scarring
for the rest of her life.
There are two major concerns with slow cookers being used for any reason around young kids.
As Brad mentions, the lack of a magnetic breakaway cord is one of the those concerns. The other
problem is the difficulty associated with maintaining a standard temperature.
To get a better understanding of how the temperature of hot liquids can impact a young child, we
spoke with Dr. Michael Schurr, Burn and Trauma Surgeon at the University of Colorado Hospital.
[Dr. Michael Schurr] Scald burns are typically second degree burns, but they are typically
very, very painful burns. For the most part they heal up over a seven to ten day period,
but once you start to get to temperatures more than 160°, 180° or 200° those are
going to be all full-thickness burns that require surgery.
So, we have had patients that we have operated on six or seven times in the first year to
year-and-a-half after the injury trying to release that scar so the hands function normally
so they can learn how to write, and they can learn how to color, and learn how to play
the piano and throw a baseball as they get older.
[Narrator] Children are experiencing deep tissue burns over the majority of their body
just so we can warm their bottles. But why do we even warm baby bottles in the first
place? Is there any evidence supporting the need to warm formula or breast milk?
To get answers to these questions we sat down with Dr. Joan Arvedson of the Feeding, Swallowing
and Nutrition Center at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Dr. Arvedson is
an internationally-renowned clinician and author of three books on infant feeding.
[Dr. Joan Arvedson] We don’t have any evidence that there is a need to warm the formulas
or the expressed breast milk; either in terms of the liquids themselves which are very safe
and do not to be warmed, or for the infant who is taking the bottle. I think it has been
a habit often that people warm formulas and warm other liquids that are in a bottle, but
nobody ever warms juice, and occasionally infants are given juice as well.
There are some parents who say that the baby seems to take the formula better if the bottle
is warm, but that is probably habit. If we work with the infants they are going to learn
to take it at room temperature or even chilled.
[Narrator] We hope at this point you recognize the very real dangers associated with scald
burns and slow cookers. These excruciating, life-changing injuries are 100% avoidable
by taking only a few simple steps.
The first step is to encourage manufacturers to add breakaway cords to all slow cookers.
After all, breakaway cords can already be found on other household appliances like deep
fryers and fondue pots. Why not slow cookers?
The next step is raising awareness with parents, guardians, and childcare providers.
[Brad Temple] After we received our first claim and I was made aware of this problem,
I went into my son's childcare center and I looked around to see if they were using
slow cookers to warm up bottles. I had a conversation with the director of the center and had a
conversation with the teacher, because I wanted to make sure the knew, because they might
not have known the real hazard that these things can pose.
[Dr. Michael Schurr] I think you have to safety proof your home or your place of business
where you make sure that any potential exposure to heat, or hot liquids, or flames is removed
from the environment.
[Dr. Joan Arvedson] The importance of never having any kind of opportunity for a child
to become burned, or pull any kind of an object off of a sink or any other kind of surface
is so critical, and we must keep making those adjustments.