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26 June 2014

Winter burns warning

As temperatures drop and colder weather sets in, WA Health is urging people to take precautions to avoid burns this winter, especially for children.

Burn injuries that are more common in winter include; burns from old or cracked hot water bottles, campfires, heaters and open fires, hot water and hot drinks, and car exhaust burns.

Hot drinks and foods should be kept out of reach of children and adults should also take extra care when handling hot drinks and foods such as soups.

Director of the WA Burns Service, Dr Fiona Wood, said burn injuries were sometimes the result of parents trying to care for sick children.

"Parents should take extra when using steam inhalers as young children can easily be scalded if they are tipped over," Dr Wood said.

"Babies or young children who are sick require more comfort and cuddles from parents, so be careful about trying to have a hot drink when you have a child in your lap."

Each year there are approximately 5000 patient visits to the Princess Margaret Hospital Burns Outpatient Clinic and via the burns Telehealth services.

WA Health advises people to screen fireplaces and wood-burning stoves and to always supervise children around any naked flames, such as open fires, gas burners, incense burners and candles.

Children should not be left unattended around campfires, even if the fire has been put out, as embers, coals and ashes can stay hot for many hours after the fire has been buried under dirt or sand.

If there is an accident, it's important to cool the burn and warm and comfort the patient.

Run cool clean water (15 to 18 degrees) over the burn for 20 minutes, which is best after removing the clothes, if possible.

Major burns are a medical emergency and require urgent treatment. Call triple zero (000) for an ambulance immediately.

Media contact: 9340 8555
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