Most Common Causes of Burn Injuries

31019823_mThe first week of February is National Burn Awareness Week. To prevent burns, you first need to know the most common causes.


Scald injury is the primary focus of this year’s Burn Awareness week. It is a leading cause of burn injury in people of all ages and the most common cause of burn injury in children under five years old. Scalding can be caused by tap water that is too hot, beverages, cooking liquids and steam from cooking.

One of the simplest and most effective things you can do to prevent a scald injury in your home is to make sure that the thermostat on your hot water heater is set to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.

Anyone can suffer a scald injury, but children, the elderly, and disabled people are at higher risk.

Contact with Fire or Flames

Contact with fire or flames is the other main cause of burn injuries. Of course, house fires are a common cause, but you may not know that a flammable liquid, usually gasoline, is involved in more than half of all burn injuries caused by flame or fire. These burns often occur during bonfire, while burning leaves or trash, and during other outdoor activities, as well as fuel-fed fires in motor vehicle accidents.

Thermal Contact

Contact with hot objects runs a distant third, but should not be overlooked. Contact with hot burners on the stove, curling irons, and other small appliances are common causes. This type of burn can also result from using heating pads or electric blankets, especially for people who have less sensitivity to heat, those who are immobile and cannot move away from the heat source, and babies who cannot get away.

Other Causes

Electrical burns, chemical burns, sunburns, and burns from radiation treatment are less common, but can be very serious and even fatal.


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